The night was personal for many in the audience at the Ritz-Carlton on Thursday as hundreds of Washington power brokers gathered in their ball gowns for what was not just another fancy affair (though it certainly was that).

Co-host Barbara Martin, along with her BrandLinkDC business partner, Jayne Sandman, laid the emotional groundwork for the evening in the West End with a deeply personal “off the record” speech that she described as a “a little conversation between you and me.”

The gala’s attendees, including Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), Drybar founder Alli Webb, ABC7’s Jummy Olabanji and Fiola Mare co-owner Maria Trabocchi, took the night’s message — that violence against women is everywhere, including in the discourse of the 2016 presidential campaign — and put their money where their outrage was. At one point, the organization raised $25,000 in just three minutes.

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