Thank you for an inspiring night for free expression

Photo: Saman Aghvami
Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thank you for joining us last night for a truly inspiring evening. Hearing the incredible experiences of each of our award winners, Bob Thomson, Ahmet Şık, Mebrahtu Teclesion Berhe, Ruth Zecarias Ghebre and Dessale Berekhet Abraham was an experience that moved many to tears. Although Ruth and Dessale were unable to join us in person, we know that their stories touched us all. The evening highlighted the critical importance of defending and promoting free expression and press freedom around the world, with Mebrahtu summing it up perfectly:

"I need to speak freely because I am a human being. It doesn't need any further clarification."

We would be remiss if we did not thank our incredible sponsors who made the evening possible. CJFE is so grateful to our amazing evening sponsor Scotiabank (for the seventh year running!), platinum sponsor CTV and reception sponsor CBC News for their critical support. We’re also wholeheartedly grateful to the Toronto Star and Henry’s for continuing to make the beautiful Photo Exhibit possible, to our gold sponsor, Sun Life Financial, our silver sponsor, Al Jazeera, and every one of our bronze and table sponsors. The funds you have helped us raise will greatly contribute to CJFE’s work in Canada and abroad.

We would also like to thank our wonderful emcees, CTV’s Beverly Thomson and CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault, for their humour and eloquence, graciously guiding us through a full and poignant program.

Finally, we want to thank each of you for your support, without which CJFE’s work would not be possible. Each person at last night’s event contributed to making it an incredible success. We hope that your involvement with CJFE does not stop here, and ask that you continue to take action in partnership with our organization.

Here are just some of the ways you can support CJFE further:

  • 1. Purchase a photo. A few of the beautiful prints from last night’s Belarusian photo exhibit are still available for purchase. Please email Tom Henheffer for details.
  • 2. Get involved. Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or volunteer.
  • 3. Sign up for our newsletter. Stay informed on CJFE’s activities with monthly updates.
  • 4. Make a donation. CJFE’s important work is only possible with your continued support.

Thanks again from all of us at CJFE, and we want to let you know that we’ll be contacting the winner of our special lottery prize — a two-night stay at the Fairmont Royal York, a $1,000 Henry’s gift certificate, and dinner at the Fairmont’s EPIC restaurant with the Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle — later on today. We hope you enjoyed the gala, and invite you to revisit all of the night’s highlights on our live blog and check out photos from the evening!