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DOC Corrections Staff Walk a Mile in High Heels for Domestic Violence Awareness

November 7, 2016

By Eric Sund

Department of Corrections

The Washington Department of Corrections was among approximately 60 participants at the YWCA of Walla Walla's annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march against domestic violence and sexual assault Oct. 19. The Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) played a key role in organizing the event, in collaboration with the YWCA. Sgt. Evelyn Flores, the facility's DAC chair, persuaded some brave correctional officers and staff to complete the walk in purple high heels in solidarity with victims.

"Our agency's mission of improving public safety and our vision statement of working together for safer communities is at the forefront of these (community) events" Flores said. "We not only raise awareness for the prison, but we get to join forces with our local community to achieve greater success in our endeavors. It is incumbent on us as civil servants and promoters of public safety to stay connected and involved with our local communities, and to have meaningful and purposeful conversations regarding societal issues."

Along the route, participants lay flowers next to displays of shoes with descriptions of victims of domestic violence. The march ended on the steps of the Walla Walla County Courthouse, where Sgt. Flores read a proclamation from a Walla Walla County Commissioner declaring Oct. 19 as Domestic Violence Awareness Day in Walla Walla. This was a powerful event which succeeded in raising awareness and supporting efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault, according to event participants.

WSP Corrections and Custody Officer Shawn Long even wore a pair of purple heels in solidarity for the event. "I don't take for granted the opportunity and influence I have to call attention or raise awareness to many issues," said Sgt. Flores. "We live in a small community where our stakeholders become people with whom we interact frequently and we can help educate."

Organizers expressed their appreciation for WSP staff and community members who participate in the event to raise awareness of domestic violence each year.

"We are always so amazed and grateful each year for the support for this event from the Washington DOC," said Nancy Butler, Events Coordinator for the YWCA Walla Walla. "Not only do they show up, wearing their purple and wearing their high heels, but they 'get it'. They get how serious this issue is and why it is important to make a statement in order to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence. We look forward to seeing them turn out each year." For more information, please visit http://www.walkamileinhershoes.org/ .

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