BY BRITTANY MARKS
It was an evening filled with laughter, dinner, and dancing to celebrate the 11th annual Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam fundraising event with entertainment by prominent comedian Vijai Nathan, as well as Tushar Singh and DJ Jaz. Vijai Nathan kept the audience laughing with her irreverent humor and stories about being Indian while growing up in America. You couldn’t help but laugh and relate to the crazy antics of her family and wonder what was coming next!
The night was not only a time to enjoy great food and entertainment; it was also a time to recognize all of the incredible works that Raksha continues to do. There are always individuals that stand out as leaders who have been instrumental to change in the community. To honor them, Raksha nominates community members who are vital to bringing about awareness and change to social issues within the community. This year, Dr. Gulshan Harjee and Shyam Sriram were awarded the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change Award.
Since Raksha was founded in 1995, they have continued to broaden the amount of resources offered to support victims of domestic violence, family violence, discrimination and sexual assault. Since 1995, they have fielded more than 12,000 calls through their direct services. Executive director, Aparna Bhattacharyya, said “Through the community’s support, we have been able to directly impact the lives of numerous members caught in domestic violence or sexual assault situations. We have witnessed the program’s success and have watched individuals create new and healthy lives for themselves and their families. It is incredible to see the ‘Power of Change’ when we all come together for a common cause of a stronger and healthier community.”
Raksha continues to find ways to better serve the community. During the event, Aruna Rao-McCann said she looks forward to a day when we will not need Raksha and the services to support all of the burdens carried by domestic violence or sexual abuse. For when that day comes, it will be a day of true celebration. Until that day, Raksha and all of the volunteers continue to be leaders for change within the community.