Article by: Carlos Lacayo
by Chairs Jean Shafiroff and Dr. Casilda Balmaceda
Mistress of Ceremony, Damaris Diaz, of Univision opened the gala with this year’s theme “Standing Shoulder to Shoulder to End all Violence Against Women” a re-affirmation of one of the most critical aspects of the feminist movement and one the Dominican Women’s Development Center has embraced from the start. The gala raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund the centers diverse programs for Latina women and families of the Washington Heights community.
Gala Chair Jean Shafiroff introduced Rosita Romero, DWDC’s Executive Director, who received a standing ovation for her 28 years of service to the Washington Heights community. Mrs. Romero gave a moving speech and asked guests to observe a moment of silence for women such as Gladys Ricart who was killed by a former boyfriend on her wedding day. Following her speech, she played a moving video from the Brides March Against Domestic Violence, which takes place annually to commemorate Gladys and all victims of domestic violence.
The nights honorees included Hope M.Field, The Coca Cola Company, who was presented with the Corporate Engagement Award; Dr. Carmen Garcia Albarran, Private Practice Pediatrician with the Outstanding Medical Practitioners Award; Karima Khawja, Univision, was presented with the Outstanding Media & Marketing Award; and Alana Cantillo, Charter Communications was presented with theOutstanding Communications Award.
An auction was then held where people bid on luxury handbags including one by Oscar de la Renta, vacations and artwork, and signed baseballs by baseball greats Carlos Beltran and Bernie Williams.
Amara La Negra closed the gala with a heart stopping performance which had the entire room on the dance floor.
The Gala Chairs were Jean Shafiroff and Dr. Casilda Balmaceda. The Gala Co-Chairs were Martin Pena, Jannetta Malloy, Sabine Poissonand Gillian Harding. Benefit Committee Members were Luz Bermudez, Petra Cruz, Fermin Espinosa, Josefa Ruiz, Maritza Santiago, Nathalie Tejada, Carolina Encarnacion and Rosita Romero.
The corporate sponsors for this year’s gala included MirRam Group, Hispanic Federation, New-York Presbyterian, Columbus University Medical Center, The Coca-Cola Company, Liberty Beverages, Inca Kola, Goya, Charter Communications, Somos, United Federation of Teachers, UPS, ADP, Univision, Healthfirst, Consulting Just For You and Cibao Pharmacy.