Human Rights Commission Announces Winners of 2018 Human Rights Awards
December 06, 2018
During a ceremony today at Government House in St. John’s, the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission presented the 2018 Human Rights Award to Kim White.
The 2018 Human Rights Award is presented annually in celebration of International Human Rights Day. It recognizes an individual who has made and/or continues to make a meaningful contribution to advancing and furthering human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Kim White was born and raised in the rural community of Twillingate, but currently lives in St. John’s. At age three, she acquired a disability due to a spinal cord tumour. Experiencing life with a disability has definitely fed her desire to help create a “just world” but she also credits her parents passing along a strong sense of altruism and compassion. Educated at Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education, Kim fulfilled a life-long dream to become a teacher. Fate intervened and led Kim on a career journey that was definitely engrained in justice, but was outside her original vision of being “a traditional classroom teacher”. Kim’s life’s work has been mainly in the non-profit sector focusing on adult education, employment and career services, poverty reduction, and community development. Kim is the former Executive Director of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities. While with the Coalition, Kim’s work focused heavily on education and awareness; leading task forces, developing resources and facilitating info sessions and workshops for projects such as Emergency Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities, Inclusive Electoral Processes and Inclusive Customer Service.
Kim is also passionate about making change through volunteering. Kim’s past volunteer work has ranged from being a Sparks and Brownie Leader to holding various positions with literacy organizations/ committees, including the PGI Golf Tournaments for Literacy, to being Chair of the Provincial Government’s Buildings Accessibility Advisory Board. Kim currently sits on the board of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as well as being Chair of Power Productions, which is a new non-profit focused on making the performing arts more inclusive and accessible.
Kim has used every available platform – at work and in her personal life – to “teach” people how to shift the way they think about accessibility. Kim’s message is that all existing barriers we face in society have been created and they can be removed and prevented if people choose to remove and prevent them; if people choose to change their attitudes, if they choose to work together and if they truly understand that in doing so, they are choosing to make the world better for themselves and everyone.
Also at today’s ceremony, Anastasia Qupee and Joanne Thompson were named Human Rights Champions. The Human Rights Commission grants this recognition to someone who has made a meaningful, lifelong contribution to human rights in Newfoundland and Labrador. The recipient is generally chosen by members of the selection committee. This year it was awarded to two recipients.
Anastasia Qupee is a role model in her community. An Innu from Sheshatshiu, Labrador, she was the first female chief of her First Nation, serving two terms from 2004 until 2010, and the first female Grand Chief of Innu Nation from 2014 to 2017. She is a mother of three and a grandmother of two. She is the Chair of the board of the Charles J. Andrew Youth Treatment Centre, and a board member of the Labrador Wellness Centre. She has previously served as board member of Labrador Grenfell Regional Authority and Innu Nation.
A strong advocate of healthy living, she always makes a point of doing things to take care of herself to avoid illness and to provide a good balance between work and home life. She is currently working as Social Health Director for Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation.
Joanne Thompson is the Executive Director of The Gathering Place (TGP), a non-profit, street level, community service centre that provides a primary health care collaborative to persons who are homeless or precariously housed, through health and social supports in an inclusive, low barrier setting. Joanne has been involved with TGP for over 13 years as a volunteer, board member and volunteer registered nurse. She has assisted to engage multidisciplinary professionals and agencies within a collaborative primary health initiative. Joanne has championed for the most marginalized, the invisible homeless, with our society.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission thanks all those who nominated individuals for the 2018 Human Rights Award. The Selection Committee’s task was challenging in deciding this year’s Human Rights Award and Human Rights Champion recipients.
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For more information on the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission, please visit www.thinkhumanrights.ca
Carey S. Majid Executive Director
NL Human Rights Commission