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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Walk for Change and the Power of Community

The BARCC Walk for Change was held Sunday, May 11, and it was wonderful - we had over 1,300 walkers and cleared our goal of $125,000! Thank you so much for walking with us and/or sponsoring us! If you didn’t, well, there’s always next year. :)

One of the things I love most about the Walk is the sense of community. As a Community Awareness and Prevention Services (CAPS) volunteer, I’m hyperaware of the role of communities in ending sexual violence. The work that I do within my community is some of my favorite work with BARCC; I love tablings and workshops, but there’s a special joy in rolling up your sleeves and really getting to work enacting social change where you live.

My Walk team last year was two people. (Two awesome people!) This year, I had seventeen.

This, to me, speaks of the strength of our community. These seventeen people come from several different social circles, many different professions; one even came here from Vermont. :) They are teenagers, sysadmins, roboticists, students, rock stars, and so much more. They are not rape crisis counselors - they’re just people in my community who believe in BARCC’s mission, turned out in support, and raised thousands of dollars.

This is the goal. Not just the thousands of dollars! The goal is social change, and how we get there is ongoing community involvement. One person giving speeches is great, yes. But when everyone that one person talks to takes that message with them, and they now know what to do if a friend tells them they’ve been sexually assaulted, or they’re able to talk to their kids about respecting boundaries, or they step in when they’re not sure if a situation they witness is okay with everyone involved -

Well, then you’ve got a revolution.

And that’s what we need. We need tremendous sweeping changes in the way our culture views and treats sexual violence. And that can be really daunting - these are not changes that a single person can make. These are not changes that will be accomplished in our lifetime. So it’s easy to say “That’s too much for me,” to get overwhelmed with the enormity of the changes that need to happen. Yes. Absolutely. This is too much for one person. But when we work together, it’s not too much at all.

We are making steps all the time.

In the case of the Walk, literally. :)

Because you start with one person, and that person brings their friends, and they bring their friends, and then you have a river of over a thousand people walking. And our committment is strengthened by this, make no mistake. Some of our work can be very solitary. Actually being surrounded by all of these wonderful people who care like we do - it’s the fuel that keeps us going, keeps us fighting. Keeps us making these steps, these incremental gains.

And these incremental gains are absolutely necessary. This is too big a job to do all at once. But every day we’re laying the groundwork that we’ll build on the next day and the day after that. And mobilizing our communities is at the absolute core of this work. Dave and I cannot be everywhere at once! Trust us! We have tried! What we want is for our communities to pick up on this work and do what they can, too.

And they’re doing it.

Viva la revolution. :)

If you want to join us in a more active capacity, we’d love to have you. Check out our volunteer positions and apply!

And check out the photos from the Walk for Change, by Carlton SooHoo, RichO’s Photography, and Kate McElwee!

Posted by Shira on 04/30 at 09:35 AM


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