SAKHI to honor Champions of Gender Equality

On Friday, May 3, 2019, Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi), New York City’s first South Asian American women’s organization and an award-winning nonprofit that combats domestic and sexual violence in NYC’s South Asian community, will celebrate 30 years of service and advocacy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at its gala Honoring the Power Within.

ACLU Artist Ambassador, best-selling author, and Top Chef host/executive producer Padma Lakshmi will serve as the gala’s Honorary Chair. Sakhi will recognize ‘me too’ movement founder Tarana Burke and philanthropist Indrani Goradia.

Sakhi’s 30th Anniversary Honored Guests Padma Lakshmi, Honorary Chair, best-selling author and host/executive producer of Bravo’s Top Chef Tarana Burke, Honoree, ‘me too’ founder, activist, and advocate Indrani Goradia, Honoree, philanthropist, advocate, and founder of Indrani’s Light Foundation Eve Ensler, Award Presenter, author of Obie Award-winning The Vagina Monologues, Tony Award-winning playwright, author, performer, and activist Amanda Nguyen, Award Presenter, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, founder and CEO of Rise Mayuri Veda, Special Remarks, thriver and peer advocate Padma Lakshmi, ACLU Artist Ambassador for immigrants’ rights and women’s rights, best-selling author, and host/executive producer of Bravo’s Top Chef is serving as the Honorary Chair of the gala.

Ms. Lakshmi says that, “Sakhi is fulfilling an important role in the Asian-American community, supporting those who need it most. The work they do is vital.” Two in five South Asian women experience domestic violence compared to one in four in the general population. Through crisis management, safety planning, job training, counseling, and more, Sakhi works with South Asian survivors of violence and sexual assault to achieve safety and independence.

Sakhi will honor two champions of gender equity and justice: Tarana Burke and Indrani Goradia. Honoree Tarana Burke is the founder of the viral ‘me too’ movement.

Time magazine included her on their 2018 Time 100 list as one of the world’s most influential people. For over 25 years, Ms. Burke has worked to increase access to resources for communities affected by sexual violence and racial injustice. Like the #metoo movement, Sakhi works with South Asian survivors of violence to take control of their lives and see themselves not as victims, but as agents of change. Ms. Burke says, “‘me too’ was born from a need to center black and brown girls in the movement to end sexual assault. Sakhi has been a model for gender justice, a resilient community partner, and I couldn’t be more humbled to stand with them as they celebrate their 30-year journey.”

Ms. Burke will be introduced by Amanda Nguyen, the founder and CEO of Rise and a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee for her work on behalf of survivors of sexual assault. Sakhi also works with different communities and institutions to end domestic violence. Sakhi leads grassroots workshops that destigmatize taboos around domestic violence in South Asian communities and trains doctors, law enforcement officers, and other frontline providers to treat South Asian survivors with greater cultural sensitivity.

Honoree Indrani Goradia is an example of the power of collaboration. Ms. Goradia is an activist, philanthropist, and founder of Indrani’s Light Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the level of care for domestic-violence survivors. In 2013, Ms. Goradia joined forces with global health organizations, the PSI Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lift women and girls out of poverty. Ms. Goradia says, “As an advocate and survivor, I have dedicated my life to uplifting the voices and power of survivors across the globe, and I am deeply honored to receive this award for Sakhi for South Asian Women’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Indrani’s Light and Sakhi are inextricably linked in a movement fighting for justice for all survivors of violence.” Ms. Goradia will be introduced by Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler. Ms. Ensler wrote the best-selling play The Vagina Monologues, which won an Obie Award and has been published in 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries. “It is an honor to bring together these powerful leaders in the movement to end violence against women for Sakhi’s 30th anniversary celebration,” says Sakhi’s Executive Director, Kavita Mehra.

“They share our belief in uplifting the voices and power of survivors of violence and are role models for all of us at Sakhi. As one of the first South Asian women’s organizations in the country, and the first to break the stigma about gender-based violence in the South Asian community, we’re proud of the progress we’ve made. As we embrace a new chapter of our history, we’re urgently looking to our friends and supporters to help us expand our services to meet the rising needs facing South Asian survivors of violence in New York City. We raise nearly half of our annual budget at our annual gala. This year we have an ambitious goal of raising $600,000, which will support Sakhi’s critical work in crisis intervention, mental health counseling, as well as help us launch our new transitional-housing program.” For more information, including gala ticketing and sponsorship information:

Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi) exists to end violence against women. Sakhi unites survivors, communities, and institutions to eradicate domestic violence to work together to create strong and healthy communities. The organization uses an integrated approach that combines support and empowerment through service delivery, community engagement, advocacy, and policy initiatives. Founded in 1989 by a group of five South Asian women—Anannya Bhattacharjee, Mallika Dutt, Tula Goenka, Geetanjali Misra, and Romita Shetty—who were from diverse professional fields such as banking, film, law, and public health, Sakhi, meaning “woman friend,” was created to fill a critical need—in spite of an abundance of religious and cultural centers, professional associations, and ethnic-specific groups within New York’s large South Asian immigrant population, there was no place for women to address the silenced subject of domestic violence. Through efforts to serve survivors and mobilize community members to condemn abuse, Sakhi has changed the conversation on domestic violence in the community. Margaret Abraham, author of Speaking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence Among South Asian Immigrants in the United States, has noted, “What Sakhi did was bring together issues around ethnicity and gender, which were previously not discussed in our communities. They shifted domestic violence from a private family problem to a public social

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