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This Saturday, it won’t just be women strapping on their heels and strutting around town. At the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, men will slip into high heeled shoes for a one-mile race around the Capitol Mall in order to raise money for Sacramento’s Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE) foundation and to raise awareness to put a stop to sexual violence and gender assault.
“(This event) is so wonderful because it enables men to be part of a solution to ending sexual violence in our community and to really do something proactive while still having fun,” said Director of Development and Community Relations for WEAVE, Julie Bornhoeft.
Bornhoeft said that she expects around 400 men will participate in the walk/run this year. The event takes place in cities all over the world, she said, but last year was the first time the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event was held in Sacramento.
“The event is done internationally to raise awareness and bring an end to sexual violence so it fit well with WEAVE being the only rape crisis center in Sacramento,” Bornhoeft said.
She went on to add that one of the great things about the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes organization is the worldwide aspect and having the opportunity to be a part of something larger outside of just the Sacramento community.
Sammy Cemo is a commercial real estate agent in Sacramento and was the top fundraiser for WEAVE last year, said Bornhoeft.
Karlee Cemo, Sammy Cemo’s daughter, said that her father raised $5,225 last year. She got involved last year after a co-worker brought the fundraiser to her attention.
“I got very excited and went to the (committee planning) meetings and was very heavily involved on the planning side, but then I also got my dad involved,” she said.
Karlee Cemo said that she brought the event up to her dad and he agreed to participate.
“Anything (my dad) does in his life is 110 percent so he was determined to be the number one fundraiser last year, and this year he wants to do the same,” Karlee Cemo said.
“For (my dad and me) it’s kind of been a father-daughter bonding time,” she added.
Bornhoeft said that there will be about twice as many men involved in the race this year compared to last year.
“We’ve already raised more than double what the event raised last year,” Bornhoeft said.
Karlee Cemo added that this year’s event is being held at a larger venue as well.
“Men who participated last year had a wonderful experience, and they’re coming back this year,” Karlee Cemo said.
“What’s so amazing about this event is that it draws men of all shapes and sizes. It has lawyers (and) doctors…but it also has college guys, men in their mid-20s…it’s such a variety of guys and I think that’s what makes it so entertaining,” she added.
This is the first year that Team Mayhem, which is composed of Allstate Insurance workers, will be participating in the event said the team’s coordinator Brian Corimer.
“We have 13 men that are signed up to actually do the walk, as well as 30 volunteers to come out and (work) on the course,” Corimer said.
He went on to say that he received 13 pairs of heels from the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes organization for the men who will be walking.
“I tried them on briefly and I’m a little bit worried. They’re a little tall but I think I’ll manage…I am (excited) and I think it will be a lot of fun,” Corimer added.
“We recognize that it’s a very serious topic, but what we (at WEAVE) have heard is that there are a lot of men who feel very strongly about speaking out against sexual assault and not always feeling like there’s a way to do that and so they very much enjoy being part of this event just because it allows them to take action,” Bornhoeft said.
In addition to the race, there will be vendors, an awards ceremony for the walk participants, and live music performed by the band Lane 5.
“I love it; I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s like a holiday for me,” Karlee Cemo said.
The entrance to the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is on 6th Street on the Capitol Mall. The event starts at 9 a.m. this Saturday April 28 and ends at 1 p.m. Find out more about the event here.