E-Newsletter: February 2015

Dear Friends,

We have lots of news to share with you this month. Check out the stories below to see what’s going on at Friends and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

click on the following headlines for news:

We are now on Instagram! Check us out at @cmhrfriends.


Riel weekend full of fun at CMHR

MG_9191-for-web-207x310The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) bustled with activity for the Louis Riel weekend, which kicked off with a celebratory walk on Friday, February 13. This year, the CMHR was the starting point for the annual Festival du Voyageur Torchlight Walk to kick-off the start of this 10-day event. More than 200 people gathered in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall for hot chocolate before departing by torch and candle light across the Esplanade Riel to Voyageur Park. Friends of CMHR donor and Manitoba campaign chair Howard Morry had the privilege of carrying the Museum flag during the walk.

“I was so proud to be asked with my family to participate in the Torch Light Walk. I was overwhelmed by the symbolism of walking from a Museum that promotes human rights for all, to the Festival, which through its joie de vivre, is the embodiment of what it means to be human,” said Morry.

Activities picked up again on Sunday, February 15 in celebration of National Flag of Canada Day, marking the 50th birthday of Canada’s flag. This fun event, offered in partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage, included a ceremonial flag raising with a performance from Sierra Noble, birthday cake and special flag day activities in three galleries.

The weekend culminated with special family programs offered on Monday, February 16 including the opportunity for visitors to make their own spirit panels and discuss Winnipeg’s connections to Métis rights. The Festival du Voyageur mascot Leo, also made and appearance and hung out with children in the Canadian Journeys gallery.

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Rush recognized with the 2015 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award

One of our legendary donors is being recognized for the outstanding philanthropic contributions they have made. The JUNO award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trio Rush – Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart – is the recipient of the 2015 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. This award recognizes outstanding Canadian artists whose contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada. The award will be presented to Rush at the 2015 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards in March.

Rush has supported many humanitarian and philanthropic causes over the course of their four-decade-long career, including the CMHR. In 2008, Rush donated $100,000 from a Winnipeg concert to Friends.

“Rush’s devotion to humanitarian causes makes them the most deserving recipients of this award. When we needed them to help us create the CMHR they came through big time and joined us on a journey to erase barriers and create meaningful, lasting change,” said Gail Asper, national campaign chair of Friends.

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Students from Shaftsbury High School Band Program support CMHR

Shaftsbury-school-for-web-310x194Students from the Shaftsbury High School band program Grades 9 to 12 visited the CMHR at the beginning of February for a tour of the galleries. After their tour they presented a cheque for $150 to Friends of CMHR chief executive officer Diane Boyle.

Thank you Shaftsbury students for your generous gift!

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CUPE National Human Rights Conference delegates visit CMHR

PM-and-DB-310x233CUPE’s National Human Rights Conference was held in Winnipeg at the beginning of February and welcomed more than 500 delegates from across the country. The conference highlighted the role unions have in fighting racism and all forms of discrimination and included a presentation about the CMHR and a two-hour visit to the Museum.

Friends of CMHR chief executive officer Diane Boyle had the opportunity to meet with Paul Moist, CUPE national president, and show him the permanent recognition in the Museum for labour’s ongoing support.

As one of the 46 unions that have supported the creation of the CMHR, CUPE has donated more than $250,000 to the private sector capital campaign.

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Insight Stations

Prominently displayed in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall, the Friends of CMHR donor wall showcases major donors that helped build the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This wall also includes two touch-screen insight stations where visitors can watch videos featuring top contributors talking about their motivation for supporting this project. Additionally, these insight stations include four videos chronicling the history and development of the Museum from idea to reality.

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Jalynn Bennett

Friends and colleagues of Jalynn Bennett share in her family’s sadness at her passing in Toronto on January 23, 2015. Bennett was a pioneering female executive, and was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her impressive financial career, which encompassed a range of organizations in the public, private and voluntary sector. She was also a recipient of the Top 100 of Canada’s Most Powerful Women Award, a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Chair of Trent University Board of Governors, and a Doctor of Sacred Letters (Honoris Causa) from Trinity College University of Toronto.

Bennett was a passionate supporter of the CMHR. She first joined Friends of CMHR as a major donor, before becoming a volunteer and the Co-Chair of the Ontario Campaign Cabinet. She volunteered in this role for eight years before retiring from the position. Even after retirement she remained available to offer advice and guidance and was steadfast in her commitment to the CMHR and human rights education.

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A human rights song by a CMHR visitor

imagine-copy-310x310In December, John Wesley Oldham visited the CMHR for the first time with his wife Marlene, his daughter and grandsons. The Museum was packed, each gallery full of visitors as they made their way through each exhibit. When they reached the Inspiring Change gallery, they – like all visitors – were invited to fill out a card starting with the word imagine. As they looked at the card, John’s seven-year-old grandson asked, “Pappa, how do you spell peace?” With John’s help, he carefully printed it on the card. He quickly picked out another card and added “no more wars”.

John and Marlene were inspired by their visit and became members of the Museum. After visiting again in January, a song began to form in John’s mind as he reflected upon the messages of the exhibits, the words and the architecture.


Varied in our creed and culture,
yet we share a common theme;
courage, human rights and freedom!
Peace for all  – our quest and dream.
Let us heed the Elder’s wisdom;
justice flowing like a stream.

Alleluia and Namaste!
Shalom, Salaam and Shanti.
May we hear the Voice within us
calling: “live in harmony.”
When discouraged and despairing –
hope, in soli-dare-ity.

Now’s the time to seize the moment
and imagine peace for all
as we live respect and rev’rence
with a sense of wonder, awe,
while affirming we’re connected.
“We’re one people” is our call.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton visits the CMHR

HRC-Jan-2015-raw-207x310On January 21, after giving a speech at the RBC Convention Centre to a crowd of nearly 2000, Hilary Clinton stopped in at the CMHR for a tour through the galleries. She stopped in the Inspiring Change gallery to fill out an imagine card that said:

“I imagine a future where human rights will be secure for everyone because all people stood up and spoke out for the freedom and dignity of each of us. We all must work toward that time together.”

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Wanda Robson’s Someday

An inspiring new video was released for Black History Month about Wanda Robson’s trip to the Museum, where her sister Viola Desmond is featured for her fight against racial segregation. Robson has made it her mission to tell her sister’s story and major donor RBC made it possible for her to visit it displayed in the CMHR.

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Covering or uncovering the truth? Media reporting on the Holodomor

In early February, 400 people spent an evening at the Museum learning about media reporting on the Ukrainian Holodomor famine-genocide in the 1930s. Media have the power to break silence around human rights atrocities, but also the power to cover the truth. Guest speaker Jaroslaw Balan from the University of Alberta and the Museum’s own researcher-curator, Dr. Jeremy Maron, spoke about the role of journalists, including those in Canada, in covering the Holodomor.

The event included a screening of a Museum film about the Holodomor and the first Canadian showing of a new travelling exhibit from the national Holodomor memorial museum in Ukraine, courtesy of UCC Manitoba Provincial Council.

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Hannah’s words

After an inspirational trip to the CMHR, Hannah Cloney shared her vision that one day racism would be gone like the dinosaurs and that she could be one of the people that makes it happen. With more than 10,000 views, this young girl’s words are grabbing attention.

See the whole video here.

If you would like further information on donating, please contact the Regional Campaign Manager for your area.

Carolyn Basha

Kelly McArthur

Alice Ogston

Lynda Henriksen