Team CLA 2021
Community Legal Aid walks to support the Elizabeth Freeman Center's work to stop domestic violence and sexual assault.. Like so much that has changed this year, EFC has reimagined its major fundraising effort as Rise Together for Safety and Justice. (See "A Letter to Our Community" below explaining the change). Although the shoes will not be part of the event the need to support EFC's important work continues. Donations support the Elizabeth Freeman Center, Berkshire County's Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault counseling and shelter service provider. Mike Morelli, Mark Gold and I have represented CLA in this effort for the past several years. Thanks to your generous support Team CLA was the top fundraising team for the Walk in 2018, 2019 and 2020. We're hoping for another successful team effort this year and once again ask for your support.
Please use this link https://www.PledgeReg.com/3975/t/TeamCLA2021 to join the team or to make donations to the Team:
A Letter to Our Community
To our friends, allies, and community,
We have heard from you and we are changing.
For the past ten years Elizabeth Freeman Center participated in an international campaign called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” In the Berkshires, this event occurred every third Thursday of September and grew each year. It was our biggest and most visible event in the community.
Throughout the years, we have heard from members of our local LGBTQ+ community, friends, and allies that the nature of this event was problematic. Over the past year, we solicited feedback through a survey and conversations around the event.
What became clear was that the use of red shoes to symbolize “Walk a Mile,” while encouraging cis men to participate and walk in high heels at the event, has contributed to gender stereotypes, transphobic tropes, and the devaluation of our LGBTQ+ community.
While it was never our intention, we acknowledge that we were causing harm. So, as an organization that seeks accountability every day through the services we provide, we must model accountability ourselves.
Elizabeth Freeman Center - our board, volunteers, and staff - sincerely and deeply apologize for the harm we have caused by failing, through the imagery we used, to include and welcome all community members to our events.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in this process. We recognize that for some, it was retriggering and difficult. Your openness and willingness to be vulnerable is creating change. And we hope that the change will be restorative.
Our intent going forward is to ensure an inclusive, safe and welcoming event for everyone in our community. We promise we will continue to listen and learn. If you would like to reach out to us, please call 413-499-2425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support.
President of the Board
Rise Together for Safety and Justice
We are changing
For the past ten years Elizabeth Freeman Center (EFC) organized an annual campaign every third Thursday of September called "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." This event grew to be our biggest event, both in fundraising and also, as importantly, in friend-raising, to build a community movement to end domestic, dating and sexual violence.
Moving forward, we wanted to create a new event that best represents our values and our community.
Rise Together for Safety and Justice
We are excited to launch Rise Together for Safety and Justice! This event evolved from the feedback we received, the conversations we had, and a goal to ensure that everyone feels there is a place for them with Elizabeth Freeman Center. These last 18 months in the pandemic have been difficult, but we Rise Together as a community because all of us deserve safety and justice. This year, as we remain vigilant with COVID precautions, we will have walks in Williamstown, North Adams, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lee, and Lenox in September. See the full schedule and routes HERE.
Now more than ever we need your help
Changing our biggest fundraising event during a global pandemic was not an easy decision. We depend on the funds raised at this annual event to help pay for our life-saving services.
Why we rise
- Eleven of our neighbors have been murdered by family members in the past five years
- Each year EFC serves over 3,000 adult and child survivors throughout the county
- Our rate of protection order filings is 57% higher than the state average by population
- Calls to our hotline increased over 40% during COVID
Where your dollars go
- $500 gives 10 survivors safe phones so they can call for help
- $1,000 funds a week of our SAFEPLAN services to support survivors in obtaining protection orders and creating safety plans
- $1,500 helps sustain one month of after-hours coverage of our 24/7 hotline, so that no one's call for help goes unanswered
- $2,500 supports 55 hours of specialized child counseling and supports for children who suffer or witness violence in their homes
- $5,000 provides 30 days of emergency shelter for two families fleeing danger
- $7,500 funds 8 weeks of our famed violence prevention education with 50 middle school students to create change
- $10,000 provides our award-winning Money School series with workshops and individual supports to 10 survivors seeking safety and financial independence
How to participate
- Rise Together with us between Sunday, September 19th, and Wednesday, September 29th (Click HERE for schedule of socially distanced planned walks and suggested routes);
- Register and help us raise funds with your family, friends, and coworkers;
- Donate so that we can raise the funds that we desperately need to continue to fight gender based violence;
- Spread the word that EFC is here, open, and ready to help;
- Take photos and videos about why you rise and share on social media with #WhyWeRise and #RiseTogether to join Elizabeth Freeman Center in spreading awareness about sexual and domestic violence in Berkshire County.
Stay tuned for more details! Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates, acknowledgements, and to follow the hashtag #RiseTogether!
Elizabeth Freeman Center
Thank you for joining us to Rise Together for Safety and Justice.
Violence is a community problem and together we are part of a community movement to end domestic, sexual, and dating violence.
Please join us as we walk. Because of COVID, we will still have smaller walks. We currently have walks scheduled in Williamstown, North Adams, Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lee and Lenox. See the full schedule and routes HERE.
When COVID hit, we never closed our doors, and Elizabeth Freeman Center continues to provide needed services to survivors and others in the community. No one deserves to be abused, raped, or assaulted.
Every hour of every day, Elizabeth Freeman Center provides lifesaving, life-renewing help to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families.
Each year we reach over 3,000 people from almost every city, town, and hamlet in Berkshire County and we know that we are only scratching the surface. During COVID-19, calls to our hotline increased over 40%. We are seeing situations more dangerous and difficult than ever before.
Elizabeth Freeman Center has offices in Pittsfield, North Adams, and Great Barrington, and staff at Probate and Family Court, Northern Berkshire District Court, Southern Berkshire District Court, Central Berkshire District Court, and the Adams and Pittsfield police departments. Our staff can meet people in safe locations almost anywhere in Berkshire County. We can provide transportation to help you reach us.
Call us for help – we are here for you. If you know someone who needs help, we can give you information.
Whoever we are, however we look, wherever we go – we all deserve safety and justice.