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Maitri Gala raises over $600K for charity

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Supporters gather at Maitri's 25th annual gala celebration

Supporters gather at Maitri’s 25th annual gala celebration

PALO ALTO, Calif. (DIYA TV) — This year’s Maitri Gala was an extra special one — celebrating the foundation’s 25th anniversary, more than 450 long-time South Asian supporters of the nonprofit, which aids to combat domestic violence, familial abuse and trafficking, showed up in full force for the Maitri Gala, raising north of $600,000 in the process.

Maitri co-founder and award-winning author, Chitra Divakaruni, spoke at the event and described how the foundation came to life during its infancy stages — a phone line and answering machine in her home, and the assistance of fellow co-founders Anjali Dujari, Roma Majumdar, and Medha Joshi. “We started the organization because we felt that absolutely no one should have to suffer abuse in their home,” Divakaruni said. “Despite initial resistance from the South Asian community, we persisted as we felt that our mission was correct.”

“From a small group that used to meet in my house, it has now become a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful organization helping literally thousands of people every year,” Divakaruni added.

Sonya Pelia, president of Maitri, described the change of fabric in the Bay Area’s South Asian community, and how its evolvement has allowed for “a co-steward and partner in taking ethical responsibility and supporting those needing help.” Pelia advocated to the South Asian community to continue the fostered growth of a just, equitable, and violence-free society by adopting a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic violence, trafficking and elder abuse. The joy could be seen on her face when she saw the massive turnout of support for the annual gala, which was held at Palo Alto’s Crown Plaza Hotel. This year’s crowd was the largest in 25 years.

[quote style=’1′ cite=” title=”]”What can you say when your own community stands with you and says ‘We are with you, we support you, we fund you’? I think there’s no other ­better ­accomplishment for 25 years,”[/quote] Pelia said.

The event was complete with a silent auction, which featured donated clothing and art, and a live performance from Blackmahal, which dazzled everyone in attendance. Shamik Mehta, co-chair of the board of trustees, said the focus of Maitri is now pointed towards not only treating the aftermath of domestic violence, but also the root cause of the issue.

“When there’s inequality in relationships between any gender, any age, any race, anything, it causes problems,” Mehta said. “So really, Maitri’s not talking about women’s problems, we’re talking about breaking the cycle.”

One donor and supporter of Maitri in attendance, S. Suresh, agreed the best solution to fixing the problem is tackling it at first sight. “The real thing is bringing awareness to the problem and then getting people to start changing their behavior,” Suresh said.

The free, confidential, nonprofit Maitri Foundation is dedicated to supporting the needs of Bay Area women regardless of their age, gender or faith. In its first 25 years, Maitri has responded to over 35,000 assist calls, empowered more than 3,400 survivors, and distributed over three-quarters of a million dollars to support its clients. For the past 16 years, the foundation has run a 9-room transitional center, which offers extended legal and other outreach services. For more information, visit the foundation’s website, www.maitri.org.

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US sends aid, and bans travel from India

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US ends aid, bans travel from India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of control in India. And now the U.S. is instituting a travel ban.  It goes into effect on May 4 but won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Meanwhile foreign aid is flowing into India from places like Israel, America, and Germany.

Sikh’s in Indianapolis held a memorial service to remember the victims of the Fed Ex facility shooting last month. Four of the people who died were from the Sikh community.  Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, yet. It’s unclear if the shooter, a former employee at the facility, was targeting Sikhs. There are a high number of Sikhs, immigrants and refugees who work in the facility.

And mega stars from the Indian diaspora raised more than 3 million dollars for Covid-19 relief in India.  Jay Shetty, Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, and Jay Sean. The virtual event was called help India Breathe and aired on Diya TV. The funds are going to three major areas of relief on the ground including food, direct cash transfers to families, and makeshift hospitals.

You can watch the fundraiser and still continue to donate:

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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American Coronavirus aid arrives in India

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American Covid-19 aid arrives in India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — American aid is finally starting to arrive in Covid-19 battered India as vaccination sites run out of shots and thousands of people gasp for air. A U.S. military transport plane delivered more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits, and other supplies. The country has been reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases of Covid infections every day for the past week.

After seven hours of public comment and testimony from hundreds of people on whether caste should be added to the county’s non-discrimination policy, the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission deferred their vote pending futher testimony and likely another public hearing. Equality Labs and the Hindu American Foundation each made presentations for and against this potential new category at the hearing, that was broadcast exclusively on Diya TV.
Watch the full event here:

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history during President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress just by taking their seats — marking the first time two women would be sitting behind the President.  Biden’s Indian American chief speech writer Vinay Reddy wrote the president’s address, adding to the historic evening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — No end in sight to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis as the number of new virus cases in the country shatter records. India added nearly 400 thousand new cases on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, boosting the country’s death toll to more than 200 thousand. US officials have urged Americans to leave the country because of the deteriorating conditions.

Several members of the Dalit community and their supporters are addressing the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission to discuss their experiences with caste discrimination. They want the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make caste a legally protected category against discrimination like race, age, gender and sexual orientation. Equality Labs is pushing this agenda but critics say it is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu.

And the Senate overwhelmingly passed an Asian Hate crimes bill and created a new position at the Justice Department to fast track reviews of potential Covid-19 related hate crimes. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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