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Vision and hope for tomorrow
Aug 07, 2009

When you get involved in any sort of campaign as a volunteer, you want it to be successful. It is a matter of conviction, pride and self-interest. You can do your part, but it does require a team effort and a lot of hard work. This has certainly been the case with the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights which surpassed its original private-sector fund-raising goal of $105 million, raising $107 million.

“When we started fund-raising six years ago we had nothing — no building, no programming and no patrons or alumni to form our donor base,” said national campaign chair Gail Asper. 

“But, thankfully, there were many extraordinary Canadians who shared our dream and lent their support to help it grow. Hundreds of people volunteered their time, wrote letters of support and helped us open doors. And so far, we can look to 5,000 donors whom we count as our friends. It is thanks to their confidence in our vision that we are here today.

“And we know that none of this would be possible without the visionary support of the city of Winnipeg, the province of Manitoba and the government of Canada, which has shown incredible foresight in creating this as the first national museum outside of Ottawa.”

WinnipegREALTORS® is proud to be one of the many supporters of this most exciting and unique project for Winnipeg, Canada and the world. It has raised over $225,000 dollars and is endeavouring to raise more by reaching out to REALTORS® and real estate boards and associations across the country. For example, the Toronto Real Estate Board got behind the Canadian Museum for Human Rights this year by making a corporate donation of $10,000.

Helping WinnipegREALTORS® support a lasting legacy to human rights and the core principles enshrining them is president Deborah Goodfellow. The WinnipegREALTORS® president has become one of the champions of the first national museum to be built outside of Ottawa. 

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was to be a collaborative effort on behalf of all people, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” she said. “However, when it was written, it did not have the force of law to enforce it. 

“We, as a human race have a responsibility to ensure that this document has relevance, for not only Canadians, but for every human being. Unless these rights have any meaning here, they have little meaning elsewhere. 

“Millions of people will visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It will be life changing. It is hoped that those who exit the building will become advocates for the human rights of all, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

“We do not have to be super heroes to make a difference — ordinary people are making extraordinary contributions every day.

“Human rights are in a category all on their own.

“Equal dignity has to be cherished, respected, valued and shown to be applied in classrooms, workplaces, homes, places of worship and in all situations, here at home and abroad.

“That is the world I envision for my grand-children and great-grandchildren.

“Every sector of society has to contribute to this vision and this hope for tomorrow. As REALTORS®, we want to show our collective heart in support of the most monumental quality of life statements, being advocates for not only shelter rights and property rights, but the one that tops the list — Human Rights.

“REALTORS® do not just sell houses. They help build strong and vibrant communities. Caring for people and their quality of life is essential. Human beings have a right to shelter. Personal property rights must also be both protected and respected. REALTORS® care. 

“Canadian and international Grade 9 students will come to Winnipeg to tour the museum to be educated on the principles of basic human rights. These are our future leaders, our citizens of tomorrow and future stewards of our world.

“The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a federal museum that will serve as a conduit for ensuring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is more than just words on a page for each and every human being on Earth. Complacency on human rights is not an option. Israel Asper knew what he was talking about.

“Consider a donation to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as an investment in the future of a world where people are treated as equals. Imagine a world where human rights have meaning and people have value and show respect and caring for each other!” she added.

Owing in part to her commitment and what WinnipegREALTORS® has been able to do in raising money and awareness for the museum, Goodfellow had the honour to speak at the private-sector fund-raising campaign announcement that the goal of $105 million had been surpassed. 

Goodfellow indicated the museum has the potential to position Winnipeg as a city where people from across the country and around the world will take notice and partake in a world-class experience.

Moreover, she said, the museum presents Canada with the opportunity to influence and change attitudes toward human rights, with its youth and educational component having an intergenerational impact. 

Human rights stories will be told to enrich peoples’ understandings of human failures and victories. It will position Canada as a place where democracy and diversity are respected.

WinnipegREALTORS® remains committed to helping the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights raise the necessary unforeseen additional funds.  To this end, it encourages anyone interested in making a donation to go to www.beginswithyou.net.

Construction of international award- winning architect Antoine Predock’s design and Ralph Applebaum’s master exhibit plan has commenced with the museum expected to open in 2012.