Interviewing with Angela Giles Klocke, founder of 1,000 Miles Project

Angela Giles Klocke is the client advocacy director at a pregnancy center where she uses her experience as a teen mom and abuse / sexual assault / domestic violence survivor to help others. Angela has three grown-up children and three grand-children (she is only 42!), and has been remarried to a good man for almost 19 years. She shares her story of her painful past and healing journey at Scars and Tiaras: Alive to Thrive ( She is a writer, speaker, and photographer.
I had the honor of interviewing Angela.

Faten .Abdallah(FA): What is the 1,000 Miles Project? What inspired you to start it?  What occurs in the 1,000 Miles Project?

Angela Giles Klocke (AGK): In late 2013, I was out walking and a song popped into my head. The chorus speaks to walking 500 miles and then 500 more “for you.” That kicked my mind into overdrive. I had been feeling out of ideas for how to raise awareness for domestic violence and abuse, so now the wheels were turning. Within days, I had come up with a plan to walk 1,000 miles in 2014.
I knew that if I was actively doing something in the name of awareness, I’d get to share more about the topic of abuse and violence as a whole. I also needed to continue my own healing in a positive way, with others.

Essentially, I would receive a name of someone who was a victim or survivor, and I would write their name on a card and walk with the card. I would pray as I walked, then share a picture of the name card. The goal was to do this until I reached 1,000 miles. My plan was to finish at the end of 2014, but like healing, the plan took its own time. I ended up finishing in 18 months instead of 12. The project was heavy because of the stories and the weight of each, so I ended up slowing down in order to safely navigate my own emotional trauma.

FA:  Who benefited from this project?

AGK: Financially, my local shelter was the aim for anything people wanted to send. I was very clear that money should not come to me at all. I encouraged those who wanted to show financial support to donate to their own shelters, if that was where they felt led to give instead. Shelters across the world always need financial assistance, so it’s a win-win no matter how people donated.
Emotionally, the people I walked for reported how much it meant for me to carry their hard stories. Some shared their secrets with me as the first person to ever know, and I was greatly honored by that. There was permission to feel and deal with pain and shame.
Obviously, I benefitted as well, because my healing continued.

FA: What did you learn from yourself as you completed this project?

AGK: First and foremost, I realized I CAN accomplish big, long term goals. All my life, I’ve had a tendency to bail halfway through a project or challenge. I rarely finish anything. I know this is a piece of the puzzle that is me that comes from my broken past, so this has been a huge shift.
I also learned that despite how far I’ve come, I still have a ways to go with my own healing. I don’t think I’ll ever be completely healed because there’s always something new that hurts or triggers (I’ll never stop wanting my mom to love me as a mother should, for example), but I can keep working to be the best version of me that I can be. And my journey matters to others on their own.

FA: What do you want people to benefit from this project?

AGK: My goal was to raise awareness about abuse and violence. I think I achieved that, even if on small levels. But a bigger more beautiful thing is that I once I started, I realized so many people have pains and secrets and shame, so I hope that as the project continues, more will see that what happened to them was never their fault, and they DO NOT have to live with shame.

FA: Are you working on a new project?

AGK: I am. Aside from the book itself, which talks about the walking and my own story, I am working on interviews with and videos of survivors, as well as more videos to help explain domestic violence to those who just don’t get why victims stay, etc.
But the bigger project I am working on will be a month-long advocacy project, wherein I will wear a tiara for the month of October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) along with a button (photo attached) that says, “Ask Me About My Tiara.” It will be an invitation to start a dialogue, and I will have information to give to people. It will take a bit of courage to do this because A: wearing a tiara is seen as kind of odd (see my memoir sneak peek about this here: and B: I am an introvert. But I’m willing to step out and have these hard conversations.

FA:  Anything else you would like to add?

AGK: Domestic violence and sexual assault are hard subjects to talk about because they come with shame and blame. Typically, child abuse receives a sympathetic response, whereas DV and sexual assault often carries the unspoken (but often also spoken) question of “What did you do to deserve it?” or “What were you wearing?” or “Why don’t you just leave?” I want people to understand it’s not easy, none of it is, but that blaming and shaming victims leads to more harm, more secrets, and sometimes the cycle continues because fewer victims speak out against their abusers. When abusers get away with their crimes, more and more get hurt. I just want to do my part to educate, to join the conversation, to START a conversation about the hard, ugly things that many don’t want to talk about at all.
For more information, check out   Abuse survivor and founder of Scars and Tiaras .  Contact: Angela Giles Klocke's website: or contact her at

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