CANBERRA activist Kat Reed hopes to raise the profile of diverse young people in the community after being recently named Young Canberra Citizen of the Year.
The 25-year-old received the award at an event held earlier this month, and says it will bring more attention to people who identify as LGBTQIA+, are living with a disability and are from an ethnically diverse background.
“Having representations of those people with those intersections winning awards and being recognised for their work is really important to encouraging people to get involved,” says Kat, referring to people who identify in multiple minority communities.
Kat, a “community filter” and activist says: “A lot of the work that I have done has been creating projects, working with people in the LGBTQ communities, to build that community.”
This has so-far included developing a queer-focused magazine, which Kat says helped develop the queer community by giving them a space to have their work published. As well as being educational to the broader community.
Kat is also the CEO of Women with Disabilities ACT and hopes the award will bring more recognition for the work of the not-for-profit.
When presenting the award, Youth Affairs Minister Yvette Berry praised Kat for being open regarding their disability and their role in the LGBTIQ+ community while being from an ethnically diverse background, which has shown that other young people like them can excel in leadership roles.
The awards, which recognise individuals and groups of young people aged between 12-25 who have made a significant contribution through their personal endeavours or who have been actively involved in the ACT community, also acknowledged Skyler Pope, who received the Young Achiever Award for her contributions to Lanyon High School’s LGBTQIA+ community.
Ms Berry said Ms Pope worked tirelessly to help make the school a safe and inclusive environment for everyone by working with the school youth workers to run the RAINBOW group for the past three years.
Jacob Norris was awarded the Personal Achievement Award for his work to promote, draw attention to, and advance the rights of children and young people with a care experience in the ACT.
He has undertaken advocacy work in his role as a young consultant with the CREATE Foundation since 2017.
Jahin Tanvir received the Individual Community Service Award for his work in community service, youth empowerment and increasing young peoples’ accessibility to Australia’s healthcare system and overcoming adversity as a first-generation migrant.
Ngalan Gilbert received the Environment and Sustainability Award for his significant contributions to caring for, protecting and providing community education about the natural environment, heritage and sustainable land management practices in the ACT.
Alexander Ding Wang was awarded the Arts and Multimedia Award and, after having just turned 13 years old, has been broadcasting at the Canberra multicultural radio station CMS FM91.1 since he was eight.
As well as performing at the National Multicultural Festival (NMF) since 2013, in 2020, Alexander produced YouTube videos so people could find entertainment during COVID-19 and thereby bring entertainment and stress relief to listeners while they are at home.
Led by member Lachlan Kirt, the Kingsford Smith School Imaging Team received the Group Achievement Award for its work to counter the negative image of their school by building community partnerships and relationships with parents, staff and community members.
They collected data about perceptions of the school and used this to develop procedures, policies and operational guidelines to maximise the impact and build a sense of trust with key stakeholders.