On a lit Saturday evening, Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville came alive after hours for an important cause. Narika, local Bay Area non-profit organization that works tirelessly to help domestic violence survivors in South Asian communities was celebrating its 25th anniversary by bringing its founders, supporters, community leaders, and their friends and families in one place. The goal was to celebrate 25 years of service to the South Asian diaspora in the Bay Area and to pledge the work going forward.
The James Bond-themed evening was exciting. Guests were met with a giant elephant sculpture and a soothing fountain at the entrance. As they poured in through the main doors, the energy though, was anything but calm. The lobby was electrifying; thanks to the passionate staff, board members and volunteers who along with their dapper outfits, wore beautiful smiles and welcomed guests. Additionally, bartenders poured fine wine and served cocktails adding to the mood.
More than 250 guests walked through red carpet as they headed to the step and repeat wall. A professional photographer captured stately dressed guests. You could see a microcosm of a Hollywood award show in Danville and that was just an introduction to an evening with great food, company, games, music, and dancing.
Upstairs, the attendees were greeted with horsd’oeuvre and more drinks amidst African artifacts that highlighted fine craftsmanship. Bond-themed casino tables were set up. This was one of those casinos where everyone was guaranteed to win and nobody were to take the money home. The guests instead snapped up the raffle tickets in attempts to collect coveted prizes.
The evening continued to the main hall where Anitha Chakravarthi, the board president of Narika officially welcomed the guests, acknowledged and paid respect to the founders of Narika, enlightened immigrant women who 25 years ago, identified the need for domestic violence services in the Bay Area. Anitha and Rovina Nimbalkar, the executive director for the organization acknowledged the board members and staff, both past and current. All of the team members received applause that reverberated through ninety stunning classic cars showcased behind the guest tables.
The event turned somber briefly when survivors shared their harrowing and heartfelt stories. One could feel the energy. It was raw and full of emotion; anger, pain, empathy, love, pride, and determination. With that, the guests, Narika’s friends; old and new, pledged supports in various forms that will enable Narika to promote women’s independence, economic empowerment and well-being. We are now supplied with a surge of energy to benefit domestic violence survivors with hands-on support, advocacy and education.