Our 2016 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was an absolutely fantastic day! The weather was perfect — warm and sunny — and we had a record turnout: 1,138 walkers! We are so impressed with how many of you came to support our event and our mission — and yes, we hope for even more walkers in 2017!
2016 was the sixth year Blackburn Center sponsored this Walk for Westmoreland County, and the third year that we kicked it off at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. The park provided a great space to not only welcome participants and pass out high heels and t shirts, but to share a bit more about our mission to end gender violence. This year, we featured a Men as Allies tent, staffed by students from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. At the tent, walkers could spin a prize wheel, sign the Pledge to Prevent Gender Violence and join our brand new Men as Allies group. Around the park and along the walk route, students from Seton Hill University displayed art designed to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence, and invited walker participation on stage in exercises from The Theatre of the Oppressed. Of course, that wasn’t the only art at the Walk — the park fences featured artwork by Greensburg Salem Middle and High School students. Truly inspiring!! Elsewhere, walkers could fuel up with breakfast provided by Dunkin Donuts and Uncle Charley’s Sausage, and have their team picture taken by Skysight Photography and Stacey Louise Photography — watch our Facebook page for the official event pictures!.
Before the walk, speakers John Noble (Noble Mediation) and Tim Johnson (SHU Football Team) reflected on what the Walk means, and how they personally put a pledge point from the Pledge to Prevent Gender Violence into action. Commissioners Ted Kopas and Charles Anderson added their commitment to ending gender violence. The group shared a moment of silence in honor of those who have lost their lives as a result of domestic or sexual violence. And together, we read the pledge aloud — a truly moving moment.
And with that, the Walk began! Our walkers (and a few runners!) paraded down Maple Avenue, showing off their heels — and their commitment to ending gender violence. Walkers carried posters and navigated through downtown Greensburg, with help from the Greensburg Police. There was no typical walker: we had everyone from babies in strollers to high school and college students to parents and grandparents and even an entire football team in high heels!
This event is truly a team effort. We were lucky to have the support of dozens of volunteers who helped to make the Walk happen — setting up and taking down the event, checking in walkers, passing out flyers, making signs, handing out shoes and t-shirts and more. We also are grateful to our 2016 sponsors, whose generous contributions allow us to host this event and to continue our work throughout the year. And of course, we are endlessly thankful to all 1,138 walkers who made our Walk a smashing success! This Walk is about the community committing to action to end gender violence – and we see that commitment grow each year! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Of course, the opportunity to take action and give back to your community doesn’t have to end with the Walk. You can donate to, or volunteer for Blackburn Center throughout the year. You can also schedule a free training program for your school, workplace or organization. Finally, you can take what you learned at the Walk and put it into practice — bringing the pledge points to life in your own way so that you can be part of the movement to end gender violence.