The 21st Annual Knock Out Abuse Gala at The Ritz Carlton Washington D.C. was certainly a night to remember last Thursday evening, November 14, 2014. With a star-studded “Old Hollywood” themed soiree, the gala was an evening of glitz & glamour for the unofficial Girl’s Night Out. While the boys attended The 25th Annual Fight Night at The Washington Hilton, the ladies of D.C. represented well and came out dressed to kill to support a great cause.
Since 1993, Knock Out Abuse Against Women has raised more than 8 million dollars to aid victims of domestic violence through supporting shelters for women and children whose lives have been shattered by abuse, poverty homelessness. This year’s gala proceeds directly sponsored Bethany House, Crossway Community, Safe Shores, The DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP)
While chic guests sipped signature champagne cocktails and snapped photos with the the handsome tuxedo-adorned male escorts and models, the event really kicked into high gear once the main event in the ballroom commenced. WUSA9 Anchor, Andrea Roane was the gracious Gala Emcee, but it was Dancing with the Stars, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who really brought the heat when he auctioned off himself to a lucky lady and her friends for a lunch date and dance lessons at Fiola Mare. Other celebrity guests and honorees included Governor Terry McAuliffe, Break the Silence Award Recipient; Robin McGraw Honoree and Keynote Speaker; Wolf Blitzer Host of CNN’s “The Situation Room”; Muriel Bowser
Mayor-Elect of Washington, D.C; Dr. Rondi Walker KOA Gala Chair and President of Walker Plastic Surgery; and Cheryl Masri and Jill Sorensen Knock Out Abuse Co-Founders.
Guests dined on a delectable three-course meal which included an Endive Salad, Beef Short Ribs “Indian Spiced”, and Caramel Bourbon Financier. DJ Derrick “D-Nice” Jones kicked off the after-party dancing festivities.
Although the event was decadent, the most beautiful part of the evening was the passion attendees and honorees alike had for the cause and how dedicated they were to making each year successful. Jill Sorensen, a former fashion model for the Elite and Ford agencies and her friend Cheryl Masri, owner of a Washington D.C. based advertising agency, founded Knock Out Abuse Against Women in 1993. Their vision was to create a non-profit organization to build public awareness and financial support to eradicate domestic violence and to help women and children whose lives have been shattered by abuse, poverty and homelessness.
Robin McGraw, who recently launched her own non-profit, When Georgia Smiled, named after her mother who taught her the strength of being a woman, supports domestic violence victims to move forward and live healthy, happy, and safe lives through advanced programs especially for women and children.
For over 20 years, Dr. Rondi Walker has worked with Knock Out Abuse, supporting victims through counseling, shelter and housing for displaced women and children, and more importantly she has identified the critical need for the development of educational programming and arrangement of legal assistance that enables continued recovery for the victims of abuse.
These women are truly inspirational and the message that they continue to spread against domestic violence is definitely a battle worth fighting.