Student shortlisted for Welsh Governments highest accolade

English student Mercy has been recognised by the Welsh Government for her ongoing campaigning as a young voice for people with HIV. In February, Mercy was shortlisted for a St David Award- the highest accolade that the Welsh Government can present to a civilian.

Mercy, who studies in the School of Arts, has used her own experience of growing up with HIV to drive her commitment and pursuit of equality for young people living with the virus, and has been campaigning since the age of 16. As the former Chair of the Children's HIV Association's Youth Committee Mercy worked with CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association) to encourage peer support through a variety of campaigns.

Arriving at the University last year, Mercy was initially uncertain of whether she wanted to share her story publicly. However, after receiving a Diana’s Legacy award, she made the decision to publicly “come out” as a young person with HIV.

Following her Legacy award, Mercy continued to campaign and even delivered a TedxTalk in December of 2017 entitled “Generation Y: Entitled to change.” During the talk, Mercy discussed her belief that young people today have more power than ever before to change the world through political activism and using the resource of social media.

Mercy said: “I think that we have more access being able to contact and connect with each other than any generation before us. I think it would be really sad if we had all of these resources and didn’t use them to enact positive change.”

Now, Mercy has been shortlisted amongst 25 others for a St David Award- an annual government awards scheme that recognises exceptional achievements.

Mercy added: “I’m hugely grateful. There are only about 20 young people in Wales living with HIV and I never really saw the work that I was doing going beyond those twenty, I was just doing it for those that I saw in front of me, so to get recognition from the Welsh Government is great."