A Tribute to an Excellent (and Diverse) Man

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“I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."              -Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, The Shawshank Redemption

When you think of Morgan Freeman, what do you think about? I immediately think of two things. I think of the great actor and I think about the voice.  I think about the entertainer that has been around me my whole life. When I was a child I watched Driving Miss Daisy many times with my grandmother who considered the movie and his performance as her favourite; when I was a kid I was blown away (and still am) by The Shawshank Redemption, one of the greatest films of all time; as a teenager I laughed out loud as Morgan played God, guiding along Jim Carrey to search for his salvation. Years back I saw a trailer for Prom Night in Mississippi the film documenting Morgan’s financial contribution to the high school in Mississippi that was holding their first non-segregated prom. Then I read more about this entertainer that I grew up with, and began to realize that there is much more to Morgan Freeman than his thespian accomplishments.  What exactly has Morgan done outside of acting?

  • He founded Rock River Foundation that has donated millions to educational programs that support public schools in the Mississippi delta, assisting in teacher training, summer reading programs and various educational and arts sponsorships
  • He is an international advisor to CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education which provides girls in rural African communities with access to education
  • He funded the first racially integrated prom in Charleston, Mississippi
  • He was a patron of Artists for a New South Africa, an organization that supported the quest to end apartheid
  • Along with others he formed the Grenada Relief Fund to aid people affected by Hurricane Ivan on the island of Grenada
  • Oh, and he co-owns a blues bar in Mississippi.

He’s a champion for human rights, a fundraiser for disasters, a beacon for social progress, a lover and propagator of music and has a voice you’d want to hear narrate your every move. Like the Metro headline from the other day suggested, “When Morgan talks, we listen.” On May 6, Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University is honouring Mr. Freeman in A Celebration of Excellence by presenting him with the prestigious Key of Knowledge Award in recognition of his work combating racism and prejudice and promoting knowledge, learning and education worldwide. It will be a terrific night where we will come together and celebrate an excellent and diverse man.

Click here to find out more information about the event and to purchase tickets or become a sponsor. Click here to check out the CFHU Facebook page where you can win tickets to the event! There will be ticket giveways leading up to contest, so head on over.

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