On April 23, hundreds of residents gathered in the Fairfield train station parking lot to participate in the 10th annual “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” campaign, a one mile walk to help raise funds for The Center of Family Justice (CFJ) as well as to raise awareness of abuse against women and children.
The CFJ is a non-profit organization that offers programs and services for victims of abuse with a mission to put an end to domestic and sexual violence and child abuse.
While the Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes has been happening since 2012, this was the first time since 2019 that it was held in-person due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sen.Tony Hwang acknowledged the significance of holding the event in person for the first time in three years.
“Isn’t it wonderful to see everybody in person,” said Hwang. “This is such a wonderful awareness program to let people know that we support those that have been impacted by domestic violence.”
Gary MacNamara, Executive Director of Public Safety and Government Affairs, has run the event since it began in 2012 and was back again this year to lead the walk.
“We started the event ten years ago,” said MacNamera. “I was still the Fairfield Police Chief and Chair to the White Ribbon campaign and wanted to find a way to accomplish a few things during sexual violence prevention month.”
The event was attended by all different kinds of people with many men wearing women’s shoes as a sign of support to women who have faced abuse.
“When I see young people, seniors, community leaders, law enforcement all here, they are here to show support for those whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence,” said Hwang.
“It is a celebration, high energy and a lot of fun,” said MacNamara.“With community leaders, members, politicians, high school students, families, dogs, and a huge SHU presence from Dr. Petillo, our athletes and others, we basically overtake Post Road on Saturday morning and are led by the Hurricanes Marching Band.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal was also leading the walk alongside MacNamara.
“To all of the survivors who are here today, thank you,” said Blumenthal. “Thank you for inspiring us with your strength and courage.”
MacNamara talked about how important it is to have the community support a sensitive topic such as this, especially men.
“We all have a role in stopping sexual violence,” said MacNamara. “ Most of the victims are women, and we all have women in our lives, and have to do all we can to prevent it from occurring.”
“Most of the offenders of sexual assault are men, however, most men don’t offend,” said MacNamara. “We need these non-offenders to be role models for others. To show what respectful relationships are.”
While the walk has raised a lot of money for CFJ and set a standard for zero tolerance for domestic violence, it has also had a large impact in the Fairfield area.
“I am taking this picture back to my colleagues in Washington at the United States Senate and saying this is America, fighting against domestic violence and you need to join them,” said Blumenthal. “Strengthen the violence against women act, make sure we devote the resources.”