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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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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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More fallout from the FTX cryptocurrency platform collapse. Court documents show its affiliate Alameda Research loaned executives like Sam Bankman Fried $1 billion and more than $500 million to Indian American Nishad Singh, FTX’s top engineer. FTX’s interim CEO says never in his career has he seen such complete failure of corporate controls and a complete absence of trustworthy financial information. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it was unable to come up with customer funds.

Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing start up Theranos.In her trial, Holmes alleged she was in the midst of a decade-long abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend and Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The Indian American was also found guilty for his role in this fraud and will be sentenced later.

Starting next month, India will assume the G20 presidency for a year and chair more than 200 meetings, leading the way for global economic growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country’s leadership here will be inclusive, ambitious, and decisive.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

After 35 years, the Nancy Pelosi era is officially coming to an end. The speaker from San Francisco announced she’s bowing out of leadership, but will retain her House seat. The midterms cost Pelosi’s Democratic party the House and effectively ended her speakership.

Two former Indian American executives at Meta Platforms will launch a new non fungible token start up for creators. Kirthiga Reddy and Saurabh Doshi have raised more than $8 million for their new company called Virtualness. But they are facing headwinds as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange collapse is putting pressure on the entire industry.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

Former President Donald Trump has officially announced he is running for president in 2024, marking his third bid for the White House. Trump had been hinting at this announcement for months, as the embattled former president faces multiple criminal and civil litigations and as his party is grappling with a worse than expected showing in the midterm elections. 

At the G20 Summit in Bali, world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden are coming together to condemn the rising threat of nuclear weapons as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues to raise tension and anxiety around the world.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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