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Domestic violence theme at Suzy’s Place Gala

Domestic violence theme at Suzy’s Place Gala
December 28
06:09 2017

Toni Preckwinkle (Cook County Board); Shahida Khan, (President of Suzy’s Place) with several elected officials and invited guests

CHICAGO: Suzy’s Place held its First Winter Gala last week at Pearl Banquets in Roselle, a north west suburb of Chicago, theming the very serious issue of domestic violence, and what it takes to fix it.

After a Capella performance of the national anthem, the evening kicked off with the high-energy acrobatics of the world-famous Jesse White Tumblers. Two keynote speakers of the evening were Judge Divya Sarang of Kane County and Dr Shastri Swaminathan, Chairman, Dept of Psychiatry at Advocate Illinois Masonic Center. They talked effectively about the legal and medical/mental aspects of domestic violence. The law and mental health go hand in hand as Suzy’s Place helps survivors through its shelter and services.

Shahida Khan, President, welcomed everyone. Arshia Hasnain, Executive Director, introduced the organization’s structure and briefed about its activities. Member of the Advisory Board, Stephanie Pelzer presented an artistic personal and emotional video collage of women helped by Suzy’s Place. She used her pencil sketches and art to tell their stories while respecting their privacy. The audience was visibly moved.

There was a short fundraising session, including artwork, a football signed by Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears, and many colorful items at silent auction. Everything was donated and everything went. The evening’s entertainment was by the well-known Bollywood singer Poonam Bhatia

Several elected officials attended. Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, recognized domestic violence as a major problem and lauded the work of Suzy’s Place. Mayor Tim Baldermann of New Lenox reminded everyone that there needed to be a conversation on domestic violence at the local and community level. Chiefs of Police from multiple cities and senior executives of NOBLE were present and fully participated in the evening’s activities.

Suzy’s Place provides emergency and transitional housing and services to women survivors of domestic violence in Rogers Park in Chicago. It serves a very diverse community spanning ethnic, religious, socio-economic and cultural groups. Through community partnerships, it raises awareness, provides services and educates community members about domestic violence. Services include counseling, educational support, job skills training and job placement, basic health, language assistance, legal assistance, parenting and life-management skills, and wellness.

Suresh Bodiwala

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