Around 50 men slipped into pairs of bright red and pink high heels Friday for a quick dash around the block in downtown Santa Cruz in the 2023 Santa Cruz County Bank Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.
In its 11th year, the annual gathering originated as a fundraiser for Monarch Services and to promote awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault.
The Walk features male employees of Santa Cruz County Bank and their local business partners.
After a brief welcoming ceremony, the crowd of heeled runners burst out from the starting line in an awkward and jilted sprint.
“Let me tell you, even the first 50 feet was tough,” said Dug Fisher, senior vice president for County Bank. “But it’s worth it, to be able to help places like Monarch Services. They’re an amazing community service for our community.”
At the close of the race, Fischer was pulled from the cheering crowd to be presented the, “He’s Got Legs Award.”
Leeann Luna, Program Director of Monarch Services, said, “We are excited to partner, once again, in this fun event that supports our vital services to empower individuals, families and our communities to take action against violence and abuse.”
Monarch Services has been providing community assistance to survivors of violence for over 45 years. Their services include counseling, shelter, emergency financial aid, transportation, support groups and more. Monarch Services is the only rape crisis and human trafficking center in Santa Cruz County. All services are available in Spanish and English and are free or low cost.