TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senator Wilton Simpson and other state leaders today joined Lauren’s Kids Founder and CEO State Senator Lauren Book to kick-off the start of the “42 Hours for 42 Million” advocacy walk at the Florida Capitol. Beginning today and through Thursday, February 6, legislators, state leaders, survivors, advocates and community members will join Senator Book in a 42+ hour continuous walk to honor the more than 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse who live in the United States. The walk is taking place on the plaza level of the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with a treadmill donated by Premier Health & Fitness Center. Senator Book, a tireless advocate and child sexual abuse survivor, will be walking through much of tonight.
“I know all too well what survivors are up against – the feelings of shame and guilt that are not ours to carry,” explained Senator Book. “We are here today to say that it’s OK to tell, it’s OK to heal, and to show communities that together, we can protect our children and prevent sexual abuse.”
Among the other Florida leaders participating in the event are Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried, Senator Tom Wright, as well as advocates from the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, and local law enforcement officers.
“Florida is committed to being a state that protects children and families, that supports survivors, and that punishes predators within the fullest extent of the law,” said Senate President Designate, Senator Wilton Simpson.
During both nights of the event, Florida’s old capitol will be lit in teal – the color associated with sexual assault awareness.
The second annual “42 Hours for 42 Million” walk follows Lauren Book and Lauren’s Kids’ eight-year “Walk in My Shoes” journey across Florida, which has welcomed advocates, community leaders, allies, survivors and more to walk 1,500 miles from Tallahassee to Key West from 2010 through 2018.
For more information about the “42 Hours for 42 Million” walk or to access the livestream of the vent, please visit LaurensKids.org/42-Hours.
Lauren Book, M.S. ED, founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, is an internationally-recognized child protection advocate, best-selling author and Florida State Senator who works every day to protect childhood. She is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, suffered at the hands of a trusted caretaker from the time she was 10 until the age of 16. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education and awareness, Lauren has worked to turn her horrific personal experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.
An official 501(c)(3) since 2007, Lauren’s Kids educates adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula, ADDY and EMMY Award-winning public awareness campaigns and speaking engagements around the country and the world. The organization provides more than 8 million direct mail education and awareness materials statewide. The foundation has helped advocate for the passage of nearly two dozen laws to support survivors and protect children from predators. For more information, please visit www.laurenskids.org.