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Honoring Trailblazers at the Most Successful Champions for Change Gala Yet

Gina Scaramella hugging Dory Cote at 2018 Champions for Change Gala and Auction
Gina Scaramella (left), BARCC's executive director, with Dory Cote (right), the first person to call BARCC's hotline. Photo by Allana Taranto of Ars Magna and Modern Glamour.

This past Friday, nearly 700 supporters, volunteers, and staff celebrated BARCC’s 45th anniversary—and trailblazers, past and present, in the movement to end sexual violence—at our annual Champions for Change Gala & Auction. As the #MeToo movement continues and deepens, and as demand for services continues to grow, BARCC’s generous supporters made this year’s gala our most successful yet.

In addition to a rousing live auction, the evening featured a moving speaking program that included a keynote from best-selling author Roxane Gay. Gina Scaramella, BARCC’s executive director, first welcomed everyone to the event: “Our mission is to end sexual violence. This work is challenging. But it’s also meaningful, inspiring, and life-changing—and in the last year, more and more of you have shown up to support survivors! We’ve watched new waves of people volunteering, donating, and taking action. You are not just hoping for change. You are working to make it happen.” She also announced the recent launch of our new web chat hotline.

Emcee Tito Jackson shared his personal connection and dedication to BARCC’s mission, then led the crowd in a rousing chant: “Hey hey, ho ho, sexual assault has got to go!” He asked everyone to raise their hands and join him in a pledge to take action and take care of themselves.

Attendees were moved to a standing ovation when survivor speaker Dory Cote, the first person to call BARCC’s hotline back in 1973, spoke:

“It’s been 45 years since I first picked up the phone to call BARCC. And today, I still feel that I owe you my life. Part of how I give back, and hope to help other survivors, is by sharing my story. But I never imagined there would be so many of you who wanted to hear what I have to say. . . . I have an amazing life, and I know that wouldn’t have been possible without the support I received at BARCC. . . .  Every survivor deserves what I got 45 years ago—compassion, counseling, community, and a chance to heal and feel happiness again.”

Dr. Judith Linden and Stephen Marcus were honored as this year’s Champions for Change for being longtime ardent allies to BARCC and survivors throughout Greater Boston. Their unique contributions to our mission show that everyone has a role to play in the movement.

Roxane Gay speaking at Gala

To wrap up the evening, keynote speaker Roxane Gay spoke to the rapt crowd. “Seeing you all here makes me feel something I don’t feel a lot of lately: hope, to see that this many people care about sexual violence,” she started. Reflecting on the past year, she said, “But now I have far more questions than answers: How are we going to create lasting change? . . .  How will we change this culture so that people who have experienced sexual violence feel safe coming forward . . . How can we do better about expanding this conversation so that everyone who endures sexual violence is able to tell their stories? . . . The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is trying to answer these questions, and we should celebrate the work that they do, not just tonight, but every single day.”

BARCC Executive Director Gina Scaramella shared about the event: “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 make our work possible. Now more than ever, we are so incredibly grateful for the vital support given by our community, sponsors, and gala attendees.”

Sponsors of the event included the following: Patients Like Me; Ropes & Gray; Uber; Boston IT Services; Boston Medical Center; BMC HealthNet Plan; Eastern Bank; Goulston & Storrs; Morgan Lewis; Newton-Wellesley Hospital; Northeastern University; Sherin and Lodgen; Bentley University; Berklee College of Music; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center ; Boston Private; Brigham & Women’s Hospital; C3 - Commercial Construction Consulting; Curry College; Delta Tau Delta NEU; Eaton Vance; Emerson College; Execuspace Construction Corporation; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Isaacson, Miller; Massachusetts General Hospital; Partners HealthCare; and Regis College.

View and share photos from the evening.

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

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s marketing and communications manager, 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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