The Awards Gala to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) was posher than usual; everybody of note was wearing tuxedos. Ben Viccari took advantage of the event to announce his resignation from the presidency. At the age of 90, the applause and thanks were well deserved.
At last year’s event Marcus Kolga won an award for his film "Gulag 113.” The film was about how his grandfather, Eduard Kolga (who since has passed) was deported by the Soviets to Siberia, then escaped and made his way back to German controlled Estonia.
The main speaker/presenter was the Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State, Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity who was to present the first two awards, in print, but was late arriving from Ottawa. In his stead was Martha Hall Findlay, Liberal critic of Economy.
The next one to be presented was in the area of radio, news or feature, which went to Martin Silva, a Portuguese language announcer on CHIN. Silva was once a City of Toronto Councillor. Editorial or opinion piece went to Ernest Tanis with CHIN radio Ottawa for his piece on the views of a Minister, Imam and Rabbi on the patriarch Abraham.
The medium of television, news or feature honoured Grace Fusillo, wife of Lenny Lombardi, for her feature, The Great Communicator - Johnny Lombardi, presented on OMNI-TV. Editorial and opinion piece went to Angie Seth, anchor/reporter for ONMI News:South Asian Edition noting a lively "Democracy 101", how students are encouraged to express political opinion prior to adulthood.
Internet news or feature went to Andrew Miller, editor Blunt Magazine for "Death", on a hospital service assistant with pride in her work. Editorial or opinion was given to Suresh Jaura, publisher, South Asian Outlook on his editorial "Two Kinds of Canadians", who complained about systemic prejudices against non-whites.
Finally Kenney arrived, Hall-Findlay stepped back. News or feature in print was given to Marg Jetelina, editor, The Canadian Immigrant, for "Culturally Compromise," an article about a Vancouver doctor. Editorial or opinion piece to Naeem "Nick" Noorani, from the same paper, for the article "Canada's Transition Penalty" about the underemployment of immigrant professionals.
The final event was presenting the Serhey Khamara Ziniak (originator of CEMA) award, which was presented to Dat (Dave) Nguyen for publishing a weekly Vietnamese newspaper and leading the fight against the punitive Ontario taxation against small newspapers (he won).
Presenters of awards, besides Hall Findlay and Kenney were The Hon. Jean Augustine, Ontario Fairness Commissioner; Ms. Brenda Nadjiwan, Co-Chair, Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection (SABAR); Ms. Sadia Zaman, Exec. Director, Women in Film and Television; Mr. Robert Lewis, VP, Content Development, Rogers Media Inc; Mr. Renato Zane, VP of Television, Radio & Television News Directors' Association and Ms. Madeline Ziniak, National Vice President, OMNI Television.
It should be noted that between the presentations entertainment was provided. The most ferocious of them was given by a Sikh martial arts school, which gave a whole new definition of how to peel a banana.
The MCs of the event were Pay Chen, Infotainment Host Rogers OMNI-TV and Dwight Drummond, Co-Anchor of CITY News at Five and City-TV News Crime Specialist.
The Gala will be shown on OMNI - 1, Sunday, July 20, 9pm ET and on OMNI - 2, July 25, 10pm ET.
CEMA notes anniversary with gala