Letter: Walk a Mile Sept. 20 for Freeman Center

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To the editor:

On Sept. 20, the Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) will sponsor Walk A Mile 2018, a March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence. This event is held during Pittsfield's Third Thursday celebration and this is its eighth year. When asked why I choose to participate, my answer is simple: the fundraising, awareness and support generated by this event are vitally important to the health and safety of our community.

Statistically, someone that you know has been a victim of gender-based violence. It is not limited to any one segment of the population. These acts of violence cut across all strata of society, be it race, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic descriptor. Through education, awareness, detection and advocacy, the Elizabeth Freeman Center works tirelessly to prevent future acts of violence. Thus, Walk A Mile is an important local event to raise desperately needed funds for the Elizabeth Freeman Center and bring the uncomfortable conversations about gender-based violence to our community because these issues affect us all.

Through direct services and partnerships, EFC provides survivors with a variety of options that include a 24-hour emergency hotline, emergency advocate responses to police stations and hospitals, emergency shelter, pet foster care, counseling, safety planning, visitation services and advocacy. All of these services are free and confidential. Community support and assistance are critical to maintaining and expanding these much-needed services.

This year, EFC is encouraging the formation and participation of teams who will fundraise and walk together, sometimes competing with other teams to achieve their fundraising goals.

Walk A Mile begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue. Please join me and show your support by walking as an individual, forming a team, or by making a donation. Registration and donations can be done online at elizabethfreemancenter.org.

Adam Hinds,

Pittsfield

The writer is the state senator representing the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District.




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