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Raksha, Penn Masala Join Forces for Fundraiser

November 2004
Raksha, Penn Masala Join Forces for Fundraiser

Benefit Gala Raises At Least $30,000

Atlanta, Georgia -- Monday, Oct. 4, 2004 -- Raksha, the Atlanta-based

non-profit organization, and Penn Masala, a Hindi A Cappella group, joined

forces Saturday, October 2, to host the sixth annual "Ek Shaam Raksha Ke

Naam" (An Evening in the Name of Raksha) at Earthlink Live in midtown


The gala, Raksha's signature fundraising event, was attended by nearly 800

people and raised, according to initial estimates, at least $30,000. The

event marked the second collaboration between Penn Masala and Raksha in as

many years.

Between two sets of performances by Penn Masala, the evening included a

presentation by Raksha on the upcoming vote -- scheduled for November 2 --

on a state Constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Georgia.

Featuring spoken word vignettes by Raksha staff, Board members, volunteers,

and activists, the performance focused on the impact such a ban would have

on the civil rights of a vital part of the community.

The presentation also addressed the proposed CLEAR act -- a piece of

legislation that would give local and state law-enforcement agencies the

authority to enforce immigration laws -- and various aspects of the Patriot


"In the name of true community-based collaborations, Raksha gave individuals

affected by public policies the space and time to call on community members

to do the right thing and challenge state-sponsored injustice," said Raksha

staff member Priyanka Sinha. "It was heartwarming to see the eager and

supportive audience response which speaks volumes about the great

compassionate community we have in Atlanta."

Khurram Hassan, Raksha's Executive Board President, said he was pleased with

the community's support and the successful collaboration with Penn Masala.

"Penn Masala had an immediate reaction of excitement from the 'Ek Shaam'

audience last night and they never lost that connection. Penn Masala's

combination of Desi and Western songs, of beats and melodies, and of humor

and jokes, kept the audience excited through out the evening," he said.

Penn Masala began in the spring of 1996 when several freshmen at the

University of Pennsylvania decided to combine South Asian music with a

western musical style. It is a rotating group of 12 to 14 members, and as

they graduate, new members are recruited to join.

After two years of arranging music and performing around the United States,

Penn Masala accepted a record deal to record an album. The group recently

released its album, "Soundcheck," featuring the hit single "Na Tum Jano,"

and is working on its fourth release.

After the evening's festivities ended, an after-party followed featuring DJ

Sketch and DJ Bally.

Ek Shaam '04 was sponsored by a number of companies and organizations, including: Bank of America, Georgia Pacific, Emdee Corporation, Indore Oil, Bhindi Jewelers, AirTran Airways, Coca Cola, Georgia Pacific, W Hotel, Norman Rashid and Diane Leonall, Annapurna Restaurant, Desi Masala, Khabar Magazine, Little India, Rivaaj magazine, and two anonymous donors. Delta Air Lines and Global Groceries donated 100,000 SkyMiles each.

Utopian Events designed the stage production.

Raksha is a Georgia-based nonprofit support and referral network that

promotes a stronger and healthier South Asian community through free and

confidential direct services, education and advocacy.

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