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Press Release: More Than 1,900 People Show Support for Survivors at Walk for Change

From left to right: BARCC Executive Director Gina Scaramella, Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, Writer and Activist Jaclyn Friedman, Mix 104.1 Host Kennedy Elsey

Attendees Raise Over $245,000 for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in Midst of #MeToo

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) announces today that more than 1,900 attendees took part in its Annual Walk for Change on April 22 to demonstrate their support for survivors of sexual assault and harassment. The largest gathering in New England raising awareness of sexual violence, this year’s Walk for Change raised over $245,000 for BARCC services through the efforts of over 500 grassroots fundraisers. The total is a fundraising record for the event, which has taken place annually since 2006.  

Kennedy Elsey, host of the Mix 104.1 Morning Show, emceed the morning rally, and writer, educator, and activist Jaclyn Friedman delivered the keynote speech. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley also addressed the crowd and kicked off the Walk. In addition to the Walk along the Charles River, participants enjoyed a range of uplifting activities, including writing messages to survivors, morning yoga, a photo booth, face painting, food trucks, lawn games, and other activities for all ages.  

Attendance at the Walk increased more than 11% compared to last year. Many people walking for the first time were taking their first steps toward action after #MeToo by showing up to support survivors and learn more about the issue. Twenty area colleges and high schools took part, and all proceeds raised support BARCC’s comprehensive services, which include a 24-7 hotline, counseling, medical advocacy, assistance with legal and financial matters, and community education.

“In the midst of a neverending news cycle revealing to all what we see every day at BARCC, it is so energizing and affirming to see all these people from our communities come together to say to all survivors, ‘We believe you,’” said Gina Scaramella, BARCC’s executive director. “And as the #MeToo movement continues and grows, I am hopeful to see so many people taking steps, taking action, to create a real shift in our culture—in our schools, in our workplaces, in our everyday lives—to prevent sexual assault and harassment.”

Sponsors of this year’s Walk for Change include Ropes & Gray, Sherin and Lodgen, Uber; Bay State Milling, Bentley University, Boston IT Services, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Harvard University Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response, Morgan Lewis, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, and Sidley; Berklee College of Music, Boston Medical Center, Brandeis University, C3—Commercial Construction Consulting, Inc., Curry College, Delta Tau Delta Northeastern University, Eileen Fisher, Emerson College, Execuspace Construction Corp., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Isaacson, Miller, Mount Ida College, Partners HealthCare, Rich May P.C., and Riemer & Braunstein LLP.

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About the Walk for Change

The Walk for Change supports the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, bringing awareness and raising funds to end sexual violence. Since 2006, the Walk for Change has been held annually in April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Each year, the event brings together a variety of people—survivors, friends and loved ones, students from area high schools and universities, community members, local corporations, and others—from Greater Boston and beyond to walk in solidarity with survivors and as part of the movement to prevent sexual violence. It also helps raise necessary funds for BARCC. Every year the 2.6-mile walk begins in Brighton and loops around the Charles River. Use #BARCCWalk4Change and #ShowUpforSurvivors to show your support and spread the word.

About the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Since 1973, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) has been a leader in the movement to end sexual violence. BARCC empowers survivors of sexual violence to heal and provides education and advocacy for the social change needed to prevent sexual violence. BARCC provides free, confidential support to survivors of sexual violence and their families and friends. It also works with high schools, colleges, police, organizations, and communities to advocate for change by providing training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place. For more information, please visit barcc.org. Follow BARCC on social media: Twitter @barcc; Instagram @barccofficial; Facebook /barcc.org.

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Jessica L. Atcheson
As BARCC’s marketing and communications manager, Jessica L. Atcheson leads strategies to advance BARCC’s mission and raise its organizational profile. She develops, implements, and evaluates strategic communications initiatives in a variety of online and offline channels.Prior to joining BARCC, Jessica served as the writer and editor at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, an international human rights nonprofit. She began her career in nonprofit communications at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she worked as associate editor. She has also earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Hamilton College, studied at Oxford University, and served as a survivor advocate through the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. She volunteers at the Network/La Red, which works to end partner abuse and support LGBQ/T survivors.

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