Our Thursday’s in Black President Kaitlyn White has just been recognised by the Kiwibank Local Hero award as someone who’s selflessness and determination has made a difference in the community.
It provides a special opportunity to all New Zealanders, who have witnessed or experienced the contributions made by this years medal recipients, to say thank you for doing what you do to make our communities better.
Kaitlyn, currently a fifth year student studying Law and Commerce, we caught up with her to ask more about what has inspired her to get involved with Thursday’s is black:
How did you get inspired to get involved with Thursday’s in Black as well as the UCSA?
I set up the Thursdays in Black (TIB) movement on our campus in 2017 after hearing about the movement on some other campuses and recognising there was a need for TIB not just at UC but in our society.
Sexual violence is unfortunately everywhere in our society but due to a range of factors (moving away from home, first romantic experiences, young age) students are more likely to have experienced a form of sexual violence in their lives.
If we have conversations and run activities / campaigns about consent and what healthy relationships look like at an early stage, everyone can help combat sexual violence and make a positive change in society.
I think we’ve all got a role to play in spreading consent culture in our communities.
What has been your favourite moment this year?
That’s a hard one to choose! A recent favourite moment was when Thursdays in Black managed to host Jan Logie MP, the Parliamentary Undersecretary on sexual and domestic violence for a speaker series event with UCPols.
The room was packed with people and it was great to see so many students give up their afternoon to hear about her work and to ask what they can do to help solve these issues.
I also noticed that a few people stuck around to have a quiet word with Jan to get advice on situations regarding friends or family, so I’m glad that was able to happen and that she could give advice due to her role at Parliament and previous experience working at Women’s Refuge.
Do you have plans for next year?
I’ve got an internship at the US Congress in Washington DC over summer through an opportunity offered by the School of Law. In March, I’m starting as a law clerk at Buddle Findlay in Christchurch
The regional judging for Kiwibank Local Hero medal recipients has been announced and Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at UC director Associate Professor Te Maire Tau and UCArts Political Scientist Associate Professor Bronwyn Hayward for winning Local Hero medals in the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards, as well as UC student, UCSA returning officer and president of the club Thursdays in Black Kaitlyn White.
There are 16 regional presentation ceremonies across New Zealand between mid-November and mid-December.