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Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn, left, and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier before the walk begins on Thursday. In the background at left are North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard and, in green, City Councilors Jason LaForest and Benjamin Lamb.
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Members of the Berkshire delegation join Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash for Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.
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Walk A Mile In Her Shoes Draws Hundreds to Benefit Freeman Center

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Marchers hold signs for Christa Steele-Knudslien who was murdered in North Adams last January. Her husband was charged in her murder. See more photos from the event here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds walked, and some stumbled, down North Street in high heels during the Walk a Mile In Her Shoes march to raise money and spread awareness of gender violence.
Elizabeth Freeman Center Executive Director Janis Broderick welcomed all the walkers who came out during the event at Third Thursday, including elected officials, business leaders, residents from throughout the county and all those who demand change.
"I want to welcome you to the eighth annual march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence and you all are looking so good," she said.
Money raised for the march goes to support the Elizabeth Freeman Center and Broderick said they had already surpassed last year's amount of $70,000 without counting donations received on Thursday. 
The nonprofit center provides counseling, shelter, and legal advocacy for victims of domestic and sexual violence. It has offices in Pittsfield, North Adams, and Great Barrington and can be reached 24/7 by calling toll-free at 1-866-401-2425.
Some people marched individually while others marched in groups. 
Broderick said Berkshire County is not free from rape, sexual assault, and gender violence and noted that there have been six domestic violence murders in the last four years. She added that last year alone, the center helped 2,600 people from throughout the county. 
"Still we know that we are only scratching the surface … and these are community atrocities that need and deserve a community response," she said. "We are creating a movement right here in the Berkshires." 
Broderick noted that there is still much work to be done and said this is obvious by just turning on the news.
"Those horrifying excuses for rape that are said: 'boys will be boys,' 'uncontrollable male passion.' They are tired, they are old, and they don't work anymore," she said. "We are better than that."
Before the march started, Broderick said if awareness continues to grow and people continue to fight against sexual assault, rape and sexual harassment, the future will be a better one.
"We take collective action through partnership, so our response together is faster and better," she said. "We walk tonight because we want change. We walk tonight for a better today and a brighter and safer future for our children."

Tags: benefit walk,   domestic violence,   elizabeth freeman center,   North Street,   

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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield

Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program. 
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
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