For the fifth consecutive year, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara will step out in a pair of towering heels to lead a community-wide rally and walk in support of victims of sexual violence and abuse.
The Center for Family Justice’s annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event kicks off on Saturday, April 29, at 8 a.m., with a one-mile trek through downtown Fairfield. The walk is noteworthy for the number of men who join the march wearing women’s footwear as an expression of solidarity during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
MacNamara will be joined on the walk route with representatives of the six communities — Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull — CFJ serves. Teams from local businesses and nonprofits will also participate along with other local police chiefs and political leaders.
Representatives of the student bodies at Fairfield’s Ludlowe and Warde high schools, Fairfield Prep, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield University and the University of Bridgeport are also expected to participate.
The walk, which also includes a fundraising component with teams who’ve raised pledges to participate, has become one of CFJ’s signature awareness and fundraising events. Last year, it drew more than 1,000 marchers to downtown Fairfield.
The message of the walk is clear: Sexual assault and abuse and the vestiges of rape culture are not just women’s issues. Men and boys play a vital role in breaking the cycles of violence.
“It is hard to believe that we have reached our fifth year walking and spreading awareness,” said MacNamara. “There remains no better way to bring attention to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. This walk reflects the dedication of community members from the entire region working to end both”
Many walkers will be members of CFJ’s White Ribbon Campaign, a group of male community leaders committed to engaging men and boys in the efforts to end domestic and sexual violence. MacNamara is also chairperson of CFJ’s White Ribbon Task Force.
“Every year, this walk inspires us and reminds us how critical it is to engage men and boys in the efforts to break the cycle of sexual and domestic violence,” Debra A. Greenwood, president/CEO of CFJ, said. “We believe prevention is possible and this walk is an important step forward in those efforts.”
Greenwood said CFJ is grateful to be celebrating the event’s fifth anniversary.
“By standing with us, Chief MacNamara has helped to galvanize the community and grow this walk into an important community event.”
Founded in California in 2002 by community activist Frank Baird, Walk a Mile began in support of a local sexual assault crisis center. It has since grown into a worldwide movement that includes the participation of tens of thousands of men and women, girls and boys.
This year’s walk begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. at the Fairfield Train Station on Mill Plain Road near downtown Fairfield. Walking begins promptly at 8 a.m. and concludes at Fairfield’s Old Town Hall. This is a rain or shine event.
For more information about the walk, contact Angel Telesco at 203-334-6154 ext. 131 or [email protected].
For more information about the Center for Family Justice, visit CenterForFamilyJustice.org.