It’s that time of year again! Time to dust off your favorite high heels (or sneakers! Or roller skates — we welcome ALL shoes), get out your markers and poster board to make a sign, and walk a mile in her shoes! Our 2019 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will take place on April 13, 2019. This year, we return to St. Clair Park in Greensburg — which means that once again, pets are welcome (so start getting those fabulous WAMIHS pet costumes ready!). You can register online here.
Blackburn Center has hosted its signature event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® since 2010. This walk is Westmoreland County’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and all forms of gender-based violence. Throughout the years, our walk has rapidly increased in size from 300 walkers to more than 1,100 in 2018. For this year’s walk, we are hoping to hit a new record of 1,500 participants! You can read more about our prior events here — and see pictures here of our fantastic previous events on our Facebook page!
Each year, our walk is held in April. While our locations have changed (first at Lynch Field, then St. Clair Park, next at Offutt Field, and now back to St. Clair Park in Greensburg), one thing that has not is that unpredictable Western Pennsylvania spring weather. We have walked in the rain, snow, and wind — and on gorgeous, sunshine days. But whether it rains, snows, or shines, we know that we can count on all of you to make it our best walk yet!
We are continuously amazed at the level of support that our walk receives every year. From the businesses that donate money, goods, and energy to support our walk, to our volunteers who devote countless hours to make the walk a reality, to participants who show up and show out, we are grateful to each and every one of you.
Every year, our walk includes men, women, and children. Many of our male walkers choose to wear high heels, taking that extra step to show their commitment to understanding what so many women experience every day. Walking in high heels is a symbol of the difficulties and challenges that women face every day, such as the need to be on guard against the possibility of sexual assault or of violence in their own homes. For some, it may represent walking the path of healing following an assault.
This is an event that is meant to raise awareness about the issues of gender-based violence. Wearing high heels is not intended as a way to mock women who wear high heels, or to glorify masculinity. It also is not a statement that only women can or should wear high heels. Quite the opposite, in fact; we strongly affirm the right of all people to NOT conform to gender stereotypes.
We also recognize that it is not just women who can be victims of sexual or domestic violence. These issues can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, or economic status. We do this walk to raise awareness about these local issues, and to help ALL victims of domestic and sexual violence. We encourage everyone who participates in our walk to wear the shoes in the spirit we intend, and to encourage others around you to be supportive of all in our community.
Blackburn Center’s mission cannot and will not end until women are safe in their own homes, safe in parking lots alone at night, safe at parties and bars, safe wherever they choose to be. The agency will not stop until women are safe in all aspects of their lives. The men who participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes share this vision. The agency applauds them as Blackburn Center’s courageous partners in working to make this world a safer place.