Men walking in high heels (Oct. 25)

MEDIA RELEASE

YWCA of Hawaii Island hosts the sixth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25.

In East Hawaii, the one-mile march begins at the YWCA Ululani Street campus.

In West Hawaii, the march will be at the Kona International Market.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and is a call to end sexual assault, rape and gender violence in the community.

Mayor Billy Kenoi and Wally Lau will lead the march and address participants at the YWCA kick-off sites in Kona and Hilo, where march participants will register, select their shoes and warm up for the walk.

The one-mile march will proceed through downtown Hilo and Kona International Market and back to the kickoff site, where prizes will be awarded to the top money-raisers.

Joining Kenoi and Wally Lau will be Police Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira and Police Assistant Chief Paul Kealoha, County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, J.E. Orozco and G. Cruz, who will lead teams of walkers from their respective organizations.

“Inspired by the saying, ‘You can’t understand a person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,’ we’re asking men to walk in women’s shoes to show their support to end violence against women and girls,” said Karen Hayashida, YWCA board president. “Every three hours someone on Hawaii Island is sexually assaulted, which is unacceptable. The community must work together to create a safer, healthier place to live and work.”

The event is sponsored by Hawaiian Electric Light Company, HPM Building Supply Foundation, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate, HFS Federal Credit Union and Atlas Insurance Agency.

Teams from organizations in the community, including business, government, law firms and nonprofits, will also be represented.

Women, teens and children are also joining in the walk to demonstrate the entire community’s support. A group may join to march together as a team. Individuals may also sign up or they may be enlisted through their co-workers, friends or partners.

All walkers are urged to get pledges from family, friends and co-workers to support their participation ($10 for an individual) and to help raise awareness and funds.

All proceeds from the event directly benefit the YWCA of Hawaii Island Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) program, the only 24-hour, 7-days a week rape crisis center for the island.

YWCA SASS services are free and include crisis counseling, therapy for assault victims and their families, and violence prevention education for schools and the community.

March participants are asked to report to the kick-off sites by 7:30 a.m. to register, select their shoes and warm up for the walk. All participants must complete an entry form and submit a $10 fee.

The community is invited to participate in the event and help raise funds to meet the $25,000 goal.

For more information, visit ywcahawaiiisland.org or call the Andy Kahili, Community Relations Events Officer at 930-5727.