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A Record-Setting Show of Support at the Champions for Change Gala

Survivor speaker Kalie stands at podium with BARCC signage in front and purple curtains in background
Survivor speaker Kalie Wilkerson addresses the sold-out crowd at the 2017 Champions for Change Gala.

Nearly 700 BARCC supporters, volunteers, and staff showed up for survivors this past Friday at our annual Champions for Change Gala & Auction. In addition to a rousing live auction, the evening featured a moving speaking program celebrating the strength of survivors as well as the holistic nature of BARCC’s services and advocacy. As national dialogue and media coverage of sexual violence reaches historic levels, BARCC’s generous supporters made this year’s Gala an unparalleled success.

Toyin Ajayi, the chief health officer at Sidewalk Lab's Care Lab and a member of the BARCC Board of Directors, welcomed everyone to the event: “By making time to be here tonight . . . you’re making a powerful statement. One that tells survivors that you believe them. And you support them. That message is more important now than ever. . . . The more our community grows and the more attention we can bring to the issue of sexual violence, the more we can show up for survivors together.”

The highlight of the evening came when survivor speaker Kalie Wilkerson spoke of her experience in BARCC’s counseling groups and her healing journey:

“We could tell our truths and know for sure that there was someone listening who understood. For the first time in a long time, I felt truly heard. . . . Every person I met at BARCC was another light in this dark part of myself I was terrified of. Every revelation, no matter how painful, was a step back to living my life again. . . . Inch by inch, I have reclaimed myself.”

Robert Carney, a law partner at Sherin and Lodgen, was honored as this year’s Champion for Change for more than a decade of support and service as an ally to survivors. BARCC also honored three volunteers of the year for their invaluable contributions: Ashley Wells, a medical advocate; Walker Bristol, a Community Awareness and Prevention Services educator; and Enid Levangie, a hotline counselor.

BARCC Volunteer of the Year Video 2017 from Boston Area Rape Crisis Center on Vimeo.

“Our annual Champions for Change Gala brings together friends of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center to show up for survivors and celebrate their achievements as well as honor the contributions of the individuals who sustain our work,” said BARCC Executive Director Gina Scaramella. “We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our work given by our community, sponsors, and gala attendees.”

Champion sponsors of the Champions for Change Gala & Auction were Ropes & Gray, Sherin and Lodgen, and Uber. Activist sponsors included Bay State Milling, Bentley University, Boston IT Services (BITS), Goulston & Storrs, the Harvard University Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Morgan Lewis, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, and Sidley. Community sponsors were Berklee College of Music, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brandeis University, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, C3—Commercial Construction Consulting Inc., Curry College, Eastern Bank, Eaton Vance, Eileen Fisher, Emerson College, Execuspace Construction Corp., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mount Ida College, Partners HealthCare, Rich May P.C., and Riemer & Braunstein LLP.

Were you at the Gala? Let us know how it was!

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s first staffer solely dedicated to communications, Jessica L. Atcheson leads strategies to advance BARCC’s mission and raise its organizational profile. She develops, implements, and evaluates strategic communications initiatives in a variety of online and offline channels. Prior to joining BARCC, Jessica served as the writer and editor at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights nonprofit. She began her career in nonprofit communications at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she worked as associate editor. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Hamilton College, studied at Oxford University, and served as a survivor advocate through the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. She volunteers at the Network/La Red, which works to end partner abuse and support LGBQ/T survivors.

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