2nd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event set for May 20

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The second annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in Anoka is scheduled for May 20, and organizers hope to raise more awareness about domestic and sexual violence and more dollars for Alexandra House than they did last year.

Though the walk is billed as the “international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence,” men, women and children of all ages are invited to strap on high heels (encouraged, but not required) and raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in local communities.

Anoka County families are invited to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes May 20 to stand up to domestic and sexual violence. (File photo)

The event’s featured speaker is Francine Siegfried, a domestic violence advocate who sits on the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Committee.

Siegfried’s ex-husband tried to kill her at home in Champlin in 2014. Robert Siegfried is in prison after stabbing his ex-wife eight times, leaving her for dead and attempting to kill himself.

Though this topic is heavy, the event is family-friendly, said committee member Brian Nystrom, president and chief executive officer of Nystrom & Associates. Last year, 10 of his grandchildren attended, and Nystrom used the experience as a teaching opportunity, he said.

“We all need to stand together to combat domestic and sexual violence,” said Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart, who also serves on the committee. “If we can get more people talking about it, then we can end this dirty little secret.”

The walk begins at the Anoka City Hall Plaza at 10:30 a.m. May 20, with day-of registration and a resource fair starting two hours beforehand. Pre-registration can be completed at www.nystromcounseling.com/walkAmile.

Awards for best decorated shoes, best dressed/spirited walk outfit, largest walk teams, most money raised by an individual and most money raised by a walk team will be presented.

Last year, more than 600 participants raised over $29,000 for Alexandra House, which offers domestic and sexual violence services in Anoka County.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence, call the Alexandra House 24-hour crisis line at 763-780-2330 to speak with an advocate anonymously. In an emergency situation, call 911.

Contact Olivia Alveshere at [email protected]