As you may know, I have a special place in my heart for Marco’s Pizzeria. Not only do they have the best pizza in town (case in point: I’ve eaten Marco’s for the last four meals I’ve had. Wedding season gets pretty crazy and its awesome to have a giant pizza in the fridge at such times), but my personal devotion comes from the experience I had as a a waitress there way back in 2007 and 2008. As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, and will continue to tear up about as I talk about it to total strangers, Marco’s was the most loving and supportive job I’ve ever had. Marco and Chris (and all the kids and staff) fed me, supported me, and loved me during a time when my baby was small and my business was tenuous. I will be forever grateful to them for their advice, support, and continued friendship. So… it is with great pride that I announce that Team Marcos was the top fundraiser for the April 24th Our Voice fundraiser, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”! As a feminist, I have some critiques of the premise of the event, what with the complicated relationship that the iconic red high-heeled shoe has to the issues of gender roles, sexuality, and sexual violence. And, as a feminist, a social worker, and a former board member of Our Voice, I’m super proud that my friends worked so hard to raise funds to support a totally badass organization!

Our VOICE (Victims, Outreach, Intervention, Counseling, and Education) operates direct services to survivors of sexual violence through their 24-hour crisis line, case management, individual and group counseling, accompaniment services, and information and referrals.

Our VOICE is based in these very rightous core beliefs:

1. We believe that all people deserve to experience healthy sexuality and personal safety regardless of sex, gender identity or sexual identity. Our programming stems from this belief, and seeks to promote open communication and informed choice.

2. People who experience sexual violence are not to blame. Perpetrators of sexual violence are to blame.

3. We believe that with information and support, clients can explore options and alternatives and make their own decisions. All reports are taken seriously and believed.

4. All information received from clients is strictly confidential (except in cases of child abuse or neglect, or when clients are a danger to self or others).

5. We see sexual violence as a widespread public health threat with historical and cultural origins, rather than the isolated problem of a small margin of people. Sexual violence is one aspect of gender-based oppression, and is inextricably linked to other forms of oppression.

6. We believe that healing is possible – both on an individual and cultural level.

7. We believe that most people, of all genders and backgrounds, see sexual violence and sexual harassment as wrong. It is our goal to unite across boundaries to address this problem together. We reject thinking that says rape is a woman’s issue, or that denigrates men as the enemy.

Thanks to Marco, Dominic, Brian, David, Robert, Richard, Frank, Martin, and all the lovely men of Marco’s for showing up and doing their part to support an organization in town that supports social change to end sexual violence. You worked hard and you worked it! It makes a girl proud.