Earlier this month, D.C-area professional athletes, including Redskins players Vernon Davis, Pierre Garçon, Chris Baker and Nick Sundberg, took part in the 8th annual “Walk This Way” charity fashion show hosted by domestic violence prevention nonprofit Becky’s Fund, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.
Other athletes in attendance included Washington Wizards stars Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ian Mahinmi, United States Women’s National Soccer team’s Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn, D.C. United’s Bill Hamid and Marcelo Sarvas, former NFL stars Gary Clark, Dhani Jones, John Booty and Brandon Frye and former U.S. Olympian Giuseppe Lanzone.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Chris Baker who took time to meet with guests in attendance, taking pictures and cracking jokes one day before going to take on an Eagles team in unfriendly territory. When it came to going up to Philadelphia, Baker was excited, saying “I always look forward to going up there, without a question… Especially after that big brawl we had a few years ago.”
“I’m definitely feeling good, I’ve been working with the trainers to get my body back prepared to go for Sunday.”
The conversation turned to how much attention he pays to the praise or scorn levied by fans and pundits alike. Baker though, prefers to tune out the noise, “I just go out and find ways to win. Us [linemen] up front we believe that you can tell how good a defense is by how well the line is playing, so we’re looking to try to continue improving and making the plays we need to make in order to win games.”
Baker, a “Walk This Way” returning feature model, was perhaps most excited and enthusiastic to take part in the evening’s festivities: “I’m a huge supporter of Becky’s Fund and have been coming for the last few years. I love the cause and I’m all for the prevention of domestic violence and whenever I’m invited to attend I make sure to come support.”
Indeed, “Swaggy” offered one of the evening’s highlights as he showed of a little skin with a belly shimmy at the end of his strut to the end the runway.
Becky’s Fund founder, Becky Lee delivered remarks, reflecting on her experience founding the nonprofit group and impact she’s seen it have on the community:
"I founded Becky's Fund 10 years ago with the mission to end and prevent domestic violence through education and advocacy. I wanted to build an organization that breaks the cycle of violence through education and empowerment. Through lessons on positive masculine roles, violence prevention, and leadership, our Men of Code will learn what it means to have integrity both on and off the field and they are given the tools to take a stand against dating and domestic violence."
Members of the DCSAA Class AA champion Friendship Collegiate Academy “Men of Code” football players were also in attendance and delivered remarks on their time taking part in the program.
On the evening "Walk This Way" raised more than $100,000 for the nonprofit’s “Men of Code” program, an initiative that engages and educates coaches and young male athletes to become leaders and allies in the movement to end domestic violence. With the proceeds raised, Becky’s Fund will be able to help expand the Men Of Code program to three additional schools in 2017.
Take a look at some of the pictures from the evening’s festivities, and visit Becky’s Fund (beckysfund.org) to learn more about their domestic violence prevention efforts.