For the past twenty years, Sakhi has worked diligently to establish a strong presence within the South Asian community. Much of Sakhi’s community work centers around social issues that are culturally sensitive; addressing the issue of domestic violence is a conversation many are still unwilling to have in their households. Yet, over the years, Sakhi has raised awareness about domestic violence through our programming that empowers survivors by creating institutional, individual and community change, both at the national and local levels.
In 2009, Sakhi attended various outreach events in local neighborhoods, public and private institutions, and government and partner agencies a total of 55 times. These events included 34 presentations, 6 conferences, 6 media outlets and 2 marches.
In August, Sakhi participated in The Indian Day and The Pakistan Day Parades as we have in the past. At the Indian Day Parade, Sakhi representatives of all backgrounds and ages marched in unison, passing out decorative multilingual flyers, while vocalizing Sakhi’s accomplishments to the parade audience. Sakhi also enabled the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA) to walk with us, thereby, recognizing SALGA after they were denied participation in the parade. Both groups came together in solidarity to emphasize that every voice should be heard. Sakhi’s presence during community festivals and parades speaks to our origin as a grassroots organization and invites transformation from all our institutional allies.
Sakhi was also highlighted for international press coverage in 2009. In May, Sakhi was featured as the charity of choice for the evening’s South Asian Excellence Award sponsored by Sony. The event allowed Sakhi to raise money and awareness of domestic violence issues through the evening’s multiple broadcasts on Sony’s worldwide network. The evening’s program included a screening of Sakhi’s filmWhat Creates Change? followed by comedian Aasif Mandvi and actor Manu Narayan conducting a pledge drive encouraging audience members to donate.
Attending university fairs and symposiums are unique opportunities for Sakhi to connect with younger generations to create awareness around structural barriers for survivors of domestic violence. Last year Sakhi participated in 8 university fairs including the John Jay Domestic Violence Fair and Hunter College’s V-Day Fair. These events allow for a one-on-one approach so students understand the broad scope of Sakhi’s work and impact.
When the silence is broken, in situations governed by fear, tradition or lack of education, change occurs. Years of tabling, fundraising and marching are still vital activities required to educate the community in order to communicate Sakhi’s mission.
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