Calling all men to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Break out the blister cream:
High-heeled walk-a-thon comes to Cranbrook

Registration is closed for the 2012 Walk a Mile.

Cranbrook, B.C.: You’re going to see something new during this year’s Sam Steele Days Parade: A group of men wearing bright red, high-heeled shoes walking to raise money for the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre.

The men will be taking part in Cranbrook’s first-ever Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.

“We sometimes forget the valuable contributions men are making to stop violence against women,” said Roberta Rodgers, with the Friends of the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre. “This gives them the opportunity to declare where they stand about gender violence.”

And stand they will—and hobble, strut and walk—in men’s-sized shoes provided especially for the occasion, down the 1.2-mile Sam Steele Days parade route on June 16.

“We special-order the shoes before the walk,” Rodgers said. “The heels aren’t ridiculously high, but they’re high enough that walking in them is challenge for most people, men or women.”

Walk a Mile In Her Shoes started in 2001, and has spread to many communities. Groups must pre-register to hold an event, and all proceeds must go to a community organization that works to reduce violence against women.

The Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre, under the auspices of Community Connections of Southeast BC, is just such an organization.

“This is a fundraiser for the centre,” Rodgers said. “Our goal is to sign up as many men to walk the mile, and to inspire those men to form teams, collect pledges and enjoy themselves on parade day.

“After they complete the parade, they’ll receive a card acknowledging that they did, indeed, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”

The Friends will be approaching businesses and organizations over the next few weeks seeking walkers.

“We’re starting to contact men we know are interested in walking this week,” Rodgers said. “And we’re looking for some sort of vehicle so that men will be able to take a few breaks if their blisters get too big.”

Keeping in the spirit of Sam Steele Days, the group is seeking horse-drawn conveyance first—“It doesn’t have to be a big carriage,” Rodgers says.

“If anyone has a carriage and horses—or even a bicycle rickshaw—and would like to get involved, we urge them to contact us as soon as possible,” Rodgers said. “We are putting the event together right now so there is still time for us to make our part of the parade fun, evocative and low-impact.”

To request a pledge package, call Roberta at 250-489-0174.
To volunteer, to offer your low-impact transport, or to find out more, call Karen at 250-426-8588.

As for men who might be shy about walking in heels or collecting pledges, Rodgers said the pledge package and a surprise coach will give them some helpful hints about both.

“Ask your friends how much they would pay to see you walk in heels,” she said. “How can they resist pledging when you put it like that?”