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Silicon Valley guys make their point by wearing heels for the YWCA

There’s something inherently silly about seeing a parade of men — suited professionals, healthcare workers and union laborers among them — strolling around the fashion mecca of Santana Row in high heels.

That visual disconnect brings a touch of levity “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” a signature annual event by the YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence — and to raise money to fight it.

BayFC Coach Albertin Montoya helping the crowd warm up while wearing shiny blue heels with his gray Puma socks, and emcee Chris Chmura of NBC Bay Area noting that he felt about four-inches taller in his heels as he carefully navigated his way off the stage.

  • Niner Noise performs at the the finish line of “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” Ywca Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • David Adams, center, from San Jose, with The Beer Channel, poses for a photograph after participating in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Members of IBEW Local 332, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, prepare to participate in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Jesus Sanchez, center left, from San Jose, walks with Dr. Rakesh Chaudhary, center right, physician in chief at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, during “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Bay FC head coach Albertin Montoya participates in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • From left to right Tom Hudson, from San Jose, David Adams, from San Jose, Sean Davis, from Santa Cruz and Nick Hammer, from San Francisco, all from The Beer Channel, take a break after participating in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • David Adams, from San Jose, with The Beer Channel, wears his medal after participating in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Tom Hudson, right, from San Jose, with The Beer Channel, participates in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • People participate in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Don Tynes, from San Jose, celebrates after winning the “Shoe Competition” for “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Jesus Sanchez, from San Jose, stands in pink high heels during “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Nick Hammer, from San Francisco, with The Beer Channel, participates in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • People participate in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • James Gibbons-Shapiro, center, Santa Clara County assistant district attorney, participates in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • Jesus Sanchez, from San Jose, participates in the “Shoe Competition” for “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • People participate in “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” YWCA Golden Gate Silicon Valley’s annual fundraiser, at Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, June 13, 2024. “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes,” raises funds and awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

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And they were just two of more than 400 people who registered to walk and had raised more than $117,000 as of Thursday afternoon for YWCA programs. There were groups from Synopsys, IBEW Local 332, UA Local 393, Meriwest Credit Union, San Jose State University and nearly 100 walkers alone from Kaiser Permanente, which has been taking part for 15 years.

“We’re honored to be here again today,” said Dr. Rakesh Chaudhary, Physician-In-Chief at Kaiser Santa Clara, who practiced walking in his heels around the halls of the hospital this week. “Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the community extends beyond the walls of our medical centers and we fully support the YWCA mission to end gender-based violence.”

YWCA CEO Adriana Caldera Boroffice said commitments like Kaiser’s and other groups are important, not just for bringing the issues to the attention of their employees but because federal and state budgets are tightening.

“For us, events like this that provide support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are more crucial than ever,” said Boroffice, who was wearing a pair of sparkling orange sneakers that were flat and looked quite comfortable.

SAINT OF SAN PEDRO SQUARE: Frank Cucuzza isn’t a name that’s probably well known to a lot of people who pack San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose, but he’s a big part of the reason there’s a there there.  It was Cucuzza who opened some of the first restaurant buildings there in the 1970s and was a driving force, along with Leonard McKay, on the restoration of the Gonzales-Peralta Adobe during the same decade.

Cucuzza, a San Jose native and son of Italian immigrants who attended Bellarmine College Prep and Santa Clara University, passed away at age 91 on May 30.

Former Mayor Tom McEnery said Cucuzza was an old friend of his father’s and recruited the younger McEnery to lead the adobe restoration project committee. They later worked together on developing San Pedro Square Market.

“It was always his dream for there to be a big market in San Pedro Square,” McEnery recalled. “Not too many get to see their dream become reality in their lifetimes. He was a real good man.”

TRANSIT AND TRAFFIC: Former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and California Transportation Commission Chair Carl Guardino were among the guests joining elected officials and VTA and BART leaders at the groundbreaking Friday for the West Portal of the BART Silicon Valley extension — the future site of the much-debated Santa Clara Station and where the huge tunnel boring machine will be launched.

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Guardino, who now works for Tarana Wireless, was a big proponent of the project when he led the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Gonzales, now CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, was also a strong backer of bringing BART to the South Bay when he was on the San Jose City Council in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Speaking of traffic patterns, I crossed paths recently with KCSB traffic reporter Kim Vestal at History Park in San Jose. Vestal, who provides updates on the roadways “on the 8s” for the station, is doing her broadcasts from 1 to 7 p.m. from the historical museum at Kelley Park on Senter Road.

Most of the “traffic” she sees live from her window on the ground floor of the Pacific Hotel consists of historic trolleys. But hold the jokes about how radio broadcasts belong in a history museum during the internet age: The tech set-up and line to the CHP that Vestal has makes her cutting edge for sure.

MUSICAL NOTES: If you’re still looking for something to do with Dad for Father’s Day, there are a few musical options available in San Jose on Sunday, depending on your tastes.

Portuguese violinist Carlos Damas and Italian pianist Mauro Dilema will perform Portuguese chamber music at 3 p.m. at Five Wounds Portuguese National Church, 1375 E. Santa Clara St. They’ll be joined by a string quartet from the Mission Chamber Orchestra.

City Lights will be hosting a concert featuring Bay Area musicians Cory Cullinan (also known as family entertainer Doctor Noize) and his daughter, Riley Max. They will be performing original songs — and will include the audience to create some original songs live. The show starts at 7 p.m. at 529 S. Second St. and tickets are available at www.cltc.org.

The Levitt Pavilion Spring Concert series in St. James Park also wraps up with New Jersey-based duo the Jack Moves. Don’t forget to bring a blanket or a lawn chair for the free show, which starts with an opening act at 3:30 p.m.



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Silicon Valley guys make their point by wearing heels for the YWCA

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