By Ravi Ponangi
Atlanta, GA: The annual “Ek Shaam Raksha Ke Naam” celebrating 17 years of service of Raksha was held recently at Seasons Event Center, Deca-tur, in old school Bollywood style.
About 300 community members attended the event.
The celebration included singing and dance performances, dinner and silent auction. Shayl Patel and Kishan Bhut, emcees, enthralled the guests with their fresh energy and comedic performances. Raksha debuted a PSA that was directed by Aqsa Zareen Farooqui and produced by Darija Pichanak. The show began with the beautiful voices of Lamhe, Georgia State’s A Capella group, followed by a lively dance performance by Divya Srivastava of Geet-rung School of Dance.
Aparna Bhattacharyya, Raksha executive director, started with an audio of a client reading one of her poems about her experience with the court systems. She introduced Deputy Sheriff, Lt. Jeremy Brown, winner of the second annual Himmat award for his work with Raksha’s clients as well as all survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Gwinnett County.
Aparna and Vijaya Bakshi introduced the winner of the Ramesh and Vijaya Bakshi Community Change award, Dr. Sujatha Reddy for her tireless work to ensure access to health care and medical clinics in the South Asian community. Dr. Reddy said that her passion was to serve the community and spoke about her experience in helping survivors of domestic violence. She said that she would always be there to help Raksha.
The second half of the evening started with a dance performance by Geet-rung, followed by a Rekha Pallath, opening up with a dedication to the audience and community for their continued friendship and support of Raksha through the years.
Rekha Pallath, Sunny Sachdeva, Rafiq Batcha and Deepa Patel took the audience on a trip down memory lane by performing to some Bollywood classics. The show ended with a fun and powerful finale with all four singers and Geet-rung performing to Om Shanti Om with audience members joining in the fun. The dancing part was hosted by DJ Jaz. Very talented emcees joined Rafiq for an impromptu performance Gangnam style.
Raksha was fortunate to have so many talented performers and artists that would donate their time and talent to help raise funds for it, said Aparna.
The silent auction was a huge success with items donated by many local businesses and local artists.
The Silver sponsors for the event were Kilpatrick Townsend, Kuck Immigration and Kumar, Prabhu, Patel, and Banerjee. Bronze sponsors were Action Bartending and Design, The Chugh Firm, Delta Airlines, First Medical Care, The Law Offices of Joe Rosen, Metro Medical Associates, Mehta and Mehta, LLC, The Sheth Family Foundation, and KisCubed Events.
Raksha’s mission is to promote a stronger and healthier South Asian community through confidential support services, education, and advocacy. Raksha provides counseling, support groups, and advocacy to community members who have been impacted by family and sexual violence as well as other crimes.