Walk a Mile in Her Shoes takes steps toward a future without abuse

FAIRFIELD, CT — Men, some wearing red pumps and other styles of women’s shoes, were among the 550 participants in the 11th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Saturday morning. Led by a police escort, they traveled from the train station on the Post Road to Fairfield Town Hall on Old Post Road in a show of solidarity against domestic and sexual violence toward women.

“What you did today doesn’t matter. It’s what you’re doing the rest of the day and tomorrow and the next day that matters,” Gary MacNamara, chairman of the event, told the crowd from the top of the steps of Town Hall at the end of the walk. “You can have an impact beyond today. Always remember that. It’s not what you did, it’s what you’re gonna do.”

Volunteers work at a table with T-shirts for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes at the Fairfield Train Station Saturday morning.

The title sponsor of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was Aquarion Water Company and the event was organized by the Center for Family Justice’s White Ribbon Committee, a group of male volunteers and community leaders who want to take a stand against gender-based violence.

MacNamara, who is Fairfield’s former police chief and is currently executive director of public safety at Sacred Heart University, chairs the White Ribbon Campaign.

Members of law enforcement had a strong presence Saturday. Among the officers were Fairfield Police Chief Robert Kalamaras, Easton Chief Richard Doyle and Trumbull Chief Michael Lombardo. The new class of police recruits for Bridgeport also participated in the walk.

Debra A. Greenwood, president and CEO of the Center for Family Justice (CFJ) said money raised from the walk will make it possible to send 72 kids to the Elizabeth M. Pfriem Camp HOPE America-Bridgeport this summer. The traditional overnight summer camp offers a week of activities, from swimming and campfires to hiking.

The staff follows a Camp HOPE curriculum that takes a trauma-informed approach to building hope, resiliency and empowerment. From 2017 to 2022, 267 youths have attended Camp HOPE-Bridgeport. An estimated 30 children have attended multiple years, and four former campers are now HOPE counselors.

Local dignitaries at Saturday’s event  included U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, State Sen. Tony Hwang, R-28th, Fairfield First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. Matthew C. Reale, Esq., chair of CFJ’s board, also participated in the walk.

The Center for Family Justice offers support to the residents of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. The nonprofit breaks the cycle of abuse and violence – domestic, sexual and child – by providing services that create hope, restore lives and drive social change through education and community collaboration.

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