Nominations for Visionary Arts Community Person of the Year

Collage of Community nominees: Shani Dhanda, Matthew Hodson, Onyinye Udokporo, & Kwajo Tweneboa

The nominations for our community category have been announced, ahead of the Visionary Arts Awards, which are taking place on 21st March 2023, at the Ham Yard Hotel, in support of the UK’s leading Anti-Racism educational charity, Show Racism the Red Card.

The  Visionary Arts Awards are the UK’s only awards show dedicated to celebrating social impact through popular culture and the arts and will highlight the work of amazing creators, activists and community workers who are inspiring change and tackling social injustice.

 

COMMUNITY PERSON OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST

Shani Dhanda sitting.

Shani Dhanda

Shani Dhanda is among the UK’s highest-profile and most influential disability activists. As an inclusion specialist, she helps global businesses, brands and governments with their inclusion and accessibility journeys. As a South Asian woman who experiences disability, her intersectional activism has led to challenging social inequality globally through entrepreneurship.

She is the founder of Diversability, the Asian Woman Festival and the Asian Disability Network. Shani holds eight executive and advisory roles and is an Ambassador for five national disability organisations.

She is a presenter on Rip Off Britain, a guest panellist on Loose Women and contributes to many other daytime and news programmes. She is a LinkedIn Changemaker, featuring in their first-ever UK ad campaign and ranked among the most influential LinkedIn members in the UK.

Shani is in the BBC’s 100 Women laureate of 2020 and has been recognised with over twenty-three awards for her inclusion and activism work, including being named as one of the six most influential women in the new world of work, one of the most influential women in leadership and a world-leading changemaker.

Shani said: “I’m so delighted for my work to be recognised in this way. It’s a privilege and honour to hold space and represent the experiences of so many over-excluded groups and communities, especially those who face multiple layers of oppression, like me simply because of characteristics that make us who we are. Here’s to making even more systemic change and the world fairer for everyone.”

Find out more about Shani here.

https://www.instagram.com/shanidhanda/

https://twitter.com/ShaniDhanda?s=20

 

Kwajo Tweneboa speaking.

Kwajo Tweneboa

Kwajo Tweneboa, a 24-year-old activist from south London, uses social media to give a voice to social housing tenants and expose the derelict living conditions that many are forced to endure. After publicly shaming his housing association into carrying out repairs on his family’s flat after a year of inaction, Kwajo has travelled the country putting pressure on politicians and social housing providers to improve living standards.

 

 

 

Kwajo said:  ‘Thanks so much to everyone for the nomination, I’m glad such a widespread issue is finally being recognised in the way that I always hoped it would. Everyone deserves somewhere they can call home”.

Follow Kwajo to find out more:

https://twitter.com/KwajoHousing?s=20

https://www.instagram.com/kwajohousing/?hl=en

 

Onyinye UdokporoOnyinye Udokporo

Onyinye Udokporo is an entrepreneur, educator, dyslexic author and neurodiversity consultant. After being awarded a scholarship to attend an independent school, aged 11 Onyinye wanted to give back to her under-served community so she started her first tuition business aged 12 in a bid to help young people and children gain access to opportunities using affordable education as a tool.

At the age of 24 through Onyinye’s education business Enrich Learning, a 1000+ people have received support and hundreds of children and young people from low socio-economic backgrounds have been able to access the very best schools and universities in the UK through scholarships and bursaries.

Onyinye is also deeply passionate about creating a neuro inclusive safe space for neurodivergent people. Following her diagnosis of dyslexia aged 11, she noticed that there weren’t many neurodivergent people that looked like her. This left Onyinye feeling ashamed of being neurodivergent. She also noticed that in her community there was a lack of education on the topic of dyslexia and neurodiversity more widely. Onyinye was determined to ensure that people felt empowered to embrace their diagnosis and as a part of her mission to educate people of all colours, creeds and circumstances her first book Dyslexia and Me: How To Survive And Thrive If You’re Neurodivergent was published in 2022

Onyinye says: “I am so hugely honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award and I would like to thank everyone who is involved with the Visionary Arts Organisation. Building communities is very important to me as it gives people a sense of belonging. I have always vowed to be of service to others. The goal I have set with my work in education, neurodiversity and business is to be a voice for those who have gone unheard as well as give people the hand up to create their own success. I know that this nomination is helping my cause and I want to make it known that with your continued support, I am able to keep going and doing the hard work.”

Find out more about Onyinye here.

https://www.instagram.com/onyinye.udokporo/?hl=en

 

Matthew Hodson wearing Superman t-shirtMatthew Hodson

From his time as a student activist protesting against Section 28 to his current role leading the HIV information charity aidsmap, Matthew Hodson’s passion is to challenge the ignorance and prejudice that drives inequalities.

HIV stigma creates barriers to testing and life-saving treatment. Matthew’s advocacy, as a person living shamelessly with HIV, allied to aidsmap’s scientific credibility, challenges outdated notions of what it is to have HIV and demands that all people, everywhere, have secure access to HIV treatment and prevention tools.

Matthew became heavily involved in the struggles for LGBTQ+ equality in the 1980s, at one point getting arrested for protesting against media homophobia. In 1999, he conceived and co-curated Pride and Prejudice at the Museum of London, the first exhibition on LGBTQ lives at a major UK museum. Before joining aidsmap Matthew was Chief Executive of Gay Men Fighting AIDS, developing campaigns that were inclusive of people living with HIV and championed combination prevention, at hen controversial stance which is now viewed as central to the UK’s world-leading success at reducing new infections. He uses his position at aidsmap now to tackle the many and often intersecting health inequalities and inequities faced by people living with HIV.

Matthew said: “Tackling the outdated understanding of HIV is what drives me. I am beyond thrilled to be nominated for the Visionary Honours and grateful for the opportunity to share stigma-challenging information, such as the knowledge that effective HIV treatment means there is no risk of passing HIV on during sex.”

Find out more about Matthew here.

https://twitter.com/Matthew_Hodson?s=20

https://www.instagram.com/matthewhodsonlondon/

The nominations for the community category were selected by the Visionary Arts Organisation and our community judge, Dr Joanna Abeyie MBE.

Joanna Abeyie

Joanna is the Head of Creative Diversity at the BBC, a Commissioner for the Civil Service, a Common Councillor for the City of London and Founder and Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy Blue Moon & Partners, a flagship inclusive executive search business and Diversity and Inclusion consultancy practice.

She has blazed a trail as a multi-award-winning social impact entrepreneur; champion of diversity, inclusion, and equality; and an award-winning journalist and broadcaster.

She was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year Honours list for her services to diversity and inclusion in the creative and media industries.

 

 

Joanna said: “I’m so proud of the contributions the nominees in the Community category have made to their respective communities. Their consistent and tireless efforts in their areas of expertise is incredibly inspiring. I think we can all learn a lot from them”

Find out more about Joanna here.

https://twitter.com/Joanna_Abeyie?s=20

https://www.instagram.com/dr_joannaabeyie_mbe/?hl=en

 

YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE NOMINEES HERE

The public vote is now open and closes on 12th March.  The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Ham Yard hotel, London on the 21st March 2023.

TO BUY TICKETS FOR THE AWARDS CLICK HERE