On April 23, more than 1,700 attendees took part in our Annual Walk for Change, the largest gathering in New England raising awareness of sexual violence, to show their support for survivors. Participants at this year’s Walk for Change raised more than $222,000 for BARCC services. The total is a fundraising record for the event, which has taken place annually since 2006.
Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley inspired the large crowd during the morning kickoff rally:
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world. This is my tribe. . . . As you can see from the diversity of this crowd―every race, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation . . . this is a crime that does not discriminate. And it requires an entire community to get survivors on a pathway to healing. . . . For many of our survivors, today may be the first day, in this moment, that you know that you are not alone. . . . Today, we walk for change.”
Attendance at the Walk was up 35% as compared with last year’s Walk. Twenty-five area colleges and high schools took part, with a total of 531 walkers on their teams. In addition, 479 people have raised a record-breaking $222,865 to support BARCC’s comprehensive services, which include a 24-7 hotline, counseling, medical advocacy, assistance with legal and financial matters, and community education.
Kennedy Elsey, host of the Mix 104.1 Morning Show, emceed the morning rally, and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley delivered the keynote speech. The Diamond Family Circus Teen Troupe performed at the pre-Walk rally. In addition to walking a 2.6-mile loop around the Charles River at DCR’s Artesani Park, participants enjoyed morning yoga, a photo booth, face painting, food trucks, lawn games, and other activities for all ages. They also wrote inspiring messages to survivors and pledged to take future action to end sexual violence.
Gina Scaramella, BARCC’s executive director, reflected on the success of this year’s event:
“Sexual assault often results in debilitating shame and isolation in the person who is victimized. The Walk for Change creates just the opposite: a feeling of community and caring. This year’s walk was no exception. It was a beautiful day, and more people came together than we have ever seen before―all to support survivors. This is a time when people are showing up for the organizations and people they care about, and we are so honored that BARCC is one of those organizations. It means so much to see people sending the message that they see and care about survivors of sexual assault.”
Activist sponsors of the 2017 BARCC Walk for Change were 90+ Cellars, Accunet, Bentley University, Citizens Commercial Banking, Goodwin, Insource Services, Inc., Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, Ropes and Gray, Sanofi Genzyme, and Uber. Community sponsors were Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston IT Services (BITS), Curry College, Eastern Bank, Eaton Vance, Emerson College, ExecuSpace Construction Corporation, Foley Hoag LLP, Funding Change Consulting, Massachusetts General Hospital, Mount Ida College, Partners HealthCare, Sherin & Lodgen LLP, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.