11th Annual Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award Gala
November 11, 2008

Welton, Judy, Judith and AsraThe elegant décor of New York City’s Rainbow Room added a touch of timeless charm  to Interfaith Alliance’s 11th annual Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award Gala. On the evening of November 11th, Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s President, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, Board of Directors and staff honored Asra Nomani, Judy Shepard and Rabbi Irwin Kula for their work toward equality, liberty and a truly inter-religious community. All three have broken down barriers in their work, uniting people from diverse backgrounds to challenge extremism, intolerance and injustice. View more pictures from the event below.

Sumeet and Judith LightThe President’s Award  was awarded for the first time this year, honoring special guest Judith Light, an outspoken advocate for equality as well as a film producer and an award-winning actress.

The gala was a moving celebration of religious freedom and pluralism attended and enjoyed by a diverse group of Interfaith Alliance supporters: members and donors, field activists, media representatives, theological students and of course, our four honored guests.

Rev. Welton Gaddy visits with guestsHonorary Chairman Walter Cronkite’s health prevented him from attending the gala this  year, but Mr. Cronkite sent Welton a moving message to read to the evening’s guests on his behalf.

The evening drew to a close as Ms. Light, Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu (accepting on Rabbi Kula’s behalf, who was unable to attend due to a family emergency), Ms. Nomani and Mrs. Shepard graciously accepted their awards, inspiring guests and staff to redouble their efforts to protect both faith and freedom in America.

The event  was a great success, and attendees of the dinner raised an additional $25,000 towards supporting our radio show, State of Belief, which reaches listeners across the nation and can be heard weekly at www.stateofbelief.com or by Podcast. 

Click here  to make a tax-deductible donation to the Interfaith Alliance Foundation in honor of Mr. Cronkite or one of this year’s honorees.
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Asra Nomani Ms. Nomani led the Pearl Project, an investigation into the murder of Daniel Pearl, who was a guest at her home in Pakistan when he was kidnapped and killed in 2002. As the leader of the Pearl Project at Georgetown University, Ms. Nomani brought together students to explore the tough questions surrounding the murder, including the underlying politics of the crime and the lessons we can draw from this tragic intersection of cultures. She is the author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.

Judy Shepard

Mrs. Shepard lost her son, Matthew Shepard, in a murder motivated by anti-gay hate. That tragedy became a symbol of the need to pass national hate crimes legislation. Mrs. Shepard is an international spokeswoman, activist and executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. She is focused on a vision to replace hate with compassion, acceptance and understanding.

Irwin Kula

Rabbi Kula, as President of CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, is at the forefront of the discussion of religious expression in this country. Known as both a provocative religious leader and a respected spiritual iconoclast, Rabbi Kula has inspired thousands nationwide using Jewish wisdom in ways that speak to modern life. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and is a regular guest on The Today Show.