FAIRFIELD — For the last seven years, thousands of local residents have joined The Center for Family Justice for its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a mile-long fundraising walk through downtown Fairfield intended to raise awareness about the impact sexual abuse and violence has on the six local communities it serves.
This year, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CFJ will host a virtual walk, encouraging supporters to take personal fundraising walks and engage in other creative efforts to support the Bridgeport-based nonprofit throughout the month of April.
To champion these efforts, CFJ will continue to work closely with its White Ribbon Task Force, a group of male community leaders dedicated to breaking the cycles of domestic and sexual violence.
This virtual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will be chaired by Gary MacNamara, Executive Director of Public Safety & Government Affairs at Sacred Heart University and the former police chief of Fairfield. MacNamara has led Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and served as its chairman since its inception in 2013.
CFJ’s supporters can get involved by doing the following:
- Registering to participate in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes at WalkAMile.CenterforFamilyJustice.org
- Form a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes team and create a fundraising page for that team.
- Encourage friends and family to donate in support of your efforts.
- Between April 1 and 30 take a picture or video of yourself walking in support of CFJ and share it on social media using the hashtag #WeStillWalkforCFJ. Suggestion: Wear the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes symbol of red shoes or the color teal, the official color of sexual violence awareness, to show you care.
- Send those photos to CFJ at [email protected].
Debra A. Greenwood, president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice, said converting to a virtual walk was in the best interest of community health.
“It’s heartbreaking for us to not be able to continue a community tradition that means so much to those who care about victims and survivors,” she said, “but the right thing to do right now is find unique, impactful ways to support them during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”
Sponsored by Aquarion Water, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes 2020 has a goal of raising $40,000 to support Camp HOPE America-Connecticut, Bridgeport, CFJ’s therapeutic summer camp and year-long mentoring program for local youth impacted by domestic and sexual violence.
MacNamara says he’s encouraging people to find their own way to be part of this effort, which last year drew more than 1,500 walkers to downtown Fairfield. The traditional walk is noteworthy for the number of men, led by MacNamara, who walk down Fairfield’s Post Road wearing heels to show their solidarity and commitment to breaking the cycles of gender-based violence.
“Every year, we walk to raise awareness, but this year we also have the more urgent task of reminding people who are impacted by these issues that we still care,” MacNamara said. “The best way to do that is by doing our own walks and sharing them. The need for CFJ and its clients is still there and it’s still urgent. That’s why I hope people will make the effort to find creative ways to be involved. We’re still walking even though we can’t walk together this year. This year, the donations will matter even more because the clients CFJ serves will need it even more.”
To learn more about supporting Walk a Mile in Her Shoes as a sponsor, participant or donor contact Lisa Labella, CFJ’s Director of Special Events and Community Outreach at [email protected].