LOS ANGELES (September 15, 2014) - On Saturday night, September 13, 2014, Pars Equality Center (PEC) (www.parsequalitycenter.org) - a non-profit organization, and the first of its kind supporting the full integration of people of Persian (Iranian) origin in the United States - celebrated its 1st Annual Autumn Gala at the Hilton Universal Hotel in Universal City. Over 350 influential and VIP guests from LA and the Bay Area gathered for an evening of festivities and celebration while raising awareness and funds for the Iranian American community in need. Funds raised at this yearly event go towards the continued funding of the Center’s social and legal programs. Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, Emmy®-winning (“House of Saddam”) and Oscar-nominated (“House of Sand and Fog”); and Iranian actor/playwright and husband Houshang Touzie (“Argo”).
Actress Shohreh Aghdashloo and actor Houshang Touzie speak at the Pars Equality Center's 1st Annual Los Angeles Autumn Gala at Hilton Universal Hotel
When welcoming guests, Aghdashloo said, “Houshang and I believe that a life without service is not a meaningful life. Love, friendship and humanity have brought us here tonight.”
In her welcome speech, PEC executive director and founder Bita Daryabari said, “As a community we have much to be proud of in our countrymen’s accomplishments in virtually every field of industry: technology, science, research and movies. From Dropbox and Bluetooth to Google and Ebay, from “Homeland,” to “24,” “Shahs of Sunset,” “House of Sand and Fog” and “Iron man,” Iranian-Americans have been at the forefront of new developments. But these are not only sources for our pride. They also bring with them a sense of responsibility. We must not only be good custodians of our great cultural legacy, but we must also come together as a community to help those amongst us who are in their hour of need. All of us have, in our lives, had moments of hardship. Pars Equality Center ‘s mandate is to help the weakest links of our community.”
The Gala, kicked off at 7:00pm, and featured a live performance by renowned Persian band Black Cats. Formed in Iran in the mid-1960s, and having performed in iconic arenas across the globe, they are the longest-standing band in the Persian music industry.
The Black Cats Band attend the Pars Equality Center's 1st Annual Los Angeles Autumn Galar
VIP guests included: PEC executive director Bita Daryabari, Shahbal Shabpare and The Black Cats band (Parviz Bazmipour, Edvin Mohammadi, Ramin Zoka, Parham Bazmipour, Misagh Kashefi, David Montoya); actor Navid Negahban (Showtime’s “Homeland”), Asa Soltan Rahmati, Reza Farahan and Adam Neely (Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset”), Pedram Salimpour, Bobby Sarnevesht, Homa Sarshar and Shahrzad Ardalan, amongst many others.
In addition to a silent and live auction, there was music, dancing, raffles and surprise guests. The evening also included a delicious Persian dinner and desserts, catered by Badri Abrishami.
Director of fundraising at the Pars Equality Center Laleh Kazemi and model Romina Shoar
Daryabari added, ““For us, every Iranian, regardless of their religion, gender, and ethnic affiliations, is an equally valued member of our community. We began our work in Northern California but we soon realized that without an office in Southern California, where the greatest number of Iranian emigrants and asylum seekers live, we can’t realize our goals. We happily have helped 200 individuals and family-members since opening in LA last year, but there are so many more that we will only be able to help with your assistance.”
TV personalities Reza Farahan and Adam Neely, founder and executive director of the Pars Equality Center Bita Daryabari and TV personality Asa Soltan Rahmati attend the Pars Equality Center's Gala
Partners and sponsors for the Gala included Gail and Nariman Teymourian, Firouz Naderi, Pedram Salimpour, Farhad Mohit, Bobby Sarnevesht, Homa Sarshar and Shahrzad Ardalan, amongst others.
Headquartered in Menlo Park, PEC celebrated the official opening of its first Los Angeles office in September 2013.
President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association Pedram Salimpour and Director of Operations/Social Services at the Pars Equality Center Reza Odabaee attend the Pars Equality Center's Gala
Regarding the fundraising efforts of PEC, Daryabari said, “We also know we can’t reach our goals without your help. Your contribution to our effort is not just an emotional and practical neccessity, it is also for us a legal requirement. IRS demands that non-profit organizations like Pars mobilize the support of the community they hope to serve. Furthermore, our hope is to move beyond simply offering assistance to the neediest members of our community. Through our common efforts, we hope to cement a more enduring sense of common pride and responsibility.”
Text the word “PARS” to number 56512 to make a one-time or monthly donation.
About Pars Equality Center
Founded by Bita Daryabari in 2010, Pars Equality Center (PEC) is a non-profit organization, and the first of its kind, supporting the full integration of people of Persian (Iranian) origin in the United States. PEC provides social and legal support for all members of the Iranian-American community, including refugees, asylees, immigrants and the American-born. The Center advocates for more positive perceptions of Persians in the U.S. media, while offering services and programs that help establish, integrate and support Iranian-Americans so that they are able to function responsibly and productively in American society. Daryabari’s aim is to create a more just and compassionate community in which Iranians of all cultures and beliefs can participate. Based in Menlo Park, PEC opened its second office in San Jose in April 2012 and opened its third location in Los Angeles in September 2013.
For more information, please visit www.parsequalitycenter.org
Director of the Law Department at the Pars Equality Center Sarvenaz (Nazy) Fahimi speaks at the Pars Equality Center's 1st Annual Los Angeles Autumn Gala at Hilton Universal Hotel
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