Fathers wanted, fathers needed

In Alienation of Affection, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Fathers wanted, fathers needed

By Jesse Muhammad
Staff Writer | Last updated: Jul 3, 2009 – 8:55:36 AM

Bookmark and Share

Father’s Day, with its annual commercialized corporate advertisements and gift giving, has come and gone, but one group of men in America must continue year-round work to break the stereotype that they are irresponsible, no-good and indifferent towards parenting—the group of men is Black fathers.


‘I don’t have time to make excuses, because I have a baby on the way. Also, I have linked up with a few older men who are positive role models in my neighborhood because we as young males need guidance. I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy.’ I want to be a father.’
—Robert Jackson, 18

Black children living in fatherless homes exceed 50 percent; single Black mothers are increasingly at the helm of households, not to mention the number of Black children having to talk to incarcerated fathers through a double pane of glass.While analysts and the media often focus on the problem, Dr. Rozario Slack and other advocates seek to counter the negative image with examples of Black men who are successful husbands, fathers and role models.

“We can’t just continue to point out the statistics. We already know them. But who is offering assistance to the men and being the example is the question. Where are those stories?” asked Dr. Slack.

Dr. Slack is the founder of Rozario Slack Enterprises in Chattanooga, Tenn. He travels across the country conducting seminars about marriage, fathering and other issues that impact children and families. He challenges Black men to develop healthy, wholesome family, and marital relationships. He has also published several books that offer real life tools.

“We help young men with pre-birth preparation, ways to avoid infidelity, financial management, and other means by which to save their families,” said Dr. Slack. He has been married over 16 years and has three children ages 13, 10, and 6.

“I am blessed to have an example in my parents who have been married for 58 years,” said Dr. Slack, who is also the head pastor of Temple of Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ. “Divorce is far from my mind. We have to show that President Obama is only an example of other great Black husbands and fathers that exist. With all due respect, he is not the only one. Let’s push them out front.”

Strengthening relationships, providing services

To groups such as M3 Math & Science Academy in Berkeley, Calif., Black boys are the most important issue facing the Black community today. With one-third of all Black men in the country connected to the penal system and a more than 50 percent high school dropout rate, the situation is serious but the group hasn’t given up.

Since its inception, a central part of M3’s strategy has been getting more Black fathers involved in their sons’ lives, explained K.G. Charles-Harris, M3’s executive director. “Fathers are necessary for boys and the value of a father’s emotional support is irreplaceable,” said Mr. Charles-Harris.

“While the effort is still nascent, M3’s initial success bodes well for the future of the program,” said Prentice Parr, M3’s program manager. “The amount of involved fathers or male guardians has more than doubled over the past year. This is having a significant effect on the boy’s behavior and self-perception.”

In a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers found Black adolescent boys in households without a father are more at risk for developing low self-esteem compared with other Black adolescents. Further statistics noted that 69 percent of Black births are to unmarried women, compared to 25 percent for Whites.

According to the group Fathers Who Care, children from fatherless homes represent 71 percent of pregnant teenagers; 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children; 63 percent of youth suicides; 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers; 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions; 85 percent of all youth sitting in prison; and 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders.

Fathers Who Care is a comprehensive,father friendly community social service initiative based in Chicago. It was created to help indigent custodial and non-custodial fathers. The group provides services designed to empower fathers to build positive relationships with their children, strengthen parental involvementskills and promote responsible fatherhood.

“Picking up your child, holding him or her and giving them a kiss and saying I love you, means more than money or a new toy. No man has a greater gift than to give of himself,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), who co-sponsored a Black males expo led by Fathers Who Care on June 6 in Chicago.

“One fact that continues to appear is that our children are in crisis, big time. And part of the reason for this crisis, I believe, is due to fathers not being regularly involved in the lives of their children,” said Congressman Davis.

‘I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy,’ I want to be a father’

A good example of a father is what 18-year-old Robert Jackson of Dallas did not have growing up in the projects. “My mother has been the only father I knew and the drug dealers in the streets became my uncles at a young age. I was always getting in trouble. But now that I am about to have a child, I had to have a change in my lifestyle,” he told The Final Call.

His girlfriend is eight months pregnant. They just graduated from high school with no plans of attending college. “I did not expect this to happen so now I am looking for a job because I do not want to hustle out in these streets. But the economic times are so hard that young people such as me are finding it hard to get a job,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the unemployment rate among Black teens is six times the national rate. That means over 295,000 Black teenagers are actively seeking employment.

“I think the surge in young males becoming fathers has contributed to the ongoing stereotypes of Black fatherhood because many of these young people are unprepared,” said Dr. Felicia Wilson, a psychologist based in Las Vegas. She mentors teenage girls who become pregnant in high school.

“Yes, the economic times are hard but we have to teach our youth responsibility when it comes to sex. Teen pregnancy is prevalent so it creates situations where young men are running off. But all of the boys are not running despite the media coverage,” said Dr. Wilson.

“I don’t have time to make excuses because I have a baby on the way. Also I have linked up with a few older men who are positive role models in my neighborhood because we as young males need guidance. I don’t want to be a ‘baby daddy.’ I want to be a father,” said Mr. Jackson.

Dr. Wilson pointed out that many Black males get imprisoned for not paying child support and struggle to have relationships with the mothers of their children.

“Many young girls listen to their peers. So even when the young man is doing the best he can, she may still file child support out of spite,” said Dr. Wilson. “Then the relationship between them begins to take a downward spiral and the child suffers. It’s a dismal cycle which can cause a Black male with a clean prison record to now have a warrant for his arrest for child support.”

Victor Jackson, of Houston, was 17-years-old when his baby girl Ashyri was born. Out of immaturity he says he allowed the mother of his child to make all of the decisions, which he regrets.

“I wish I would have taken charge of the situation but I did not know how,” Mr. Jackson, 26, told The Final Call. “She promised she would never file child support on me but once we separated she did otherwise.”

In 2004, Mr. Jackson had child support documents delivered at his doorstep saying he owed more than $17,000. Being without work due to having a dishonorable discharge from the military, he avoided an arrest warrant by staying with friends.

“When I filed my taxes this year, they took the entire $2,300 from me. It’s rough,” said Mr. Jackson. “But whenever I get any kind of money, I give it directly to her mother because I want to do for my child.”

New York-based hip hop artist and father NYOIL launched two initiatives to strengthen the presence of Black fathers in the lives of their children and help them find jobs. The programs are called Where is My Dad? and the EMP Initiative.

“The purpose of Where is My Dad? is to assist Black fathers by providing information to help in the re-imaging of the world’s view of us,” said NYOIL, a father of three children.

The EMP (Empathy, Employment & Powerment) is a partnership with Distinctive Personnel, which is one of the largest Latino staffing agencies in the county. Through EMP, Black fathers can get assistance with job searches, resumé writing, interviewing skills, career counseling and green jobs preparation.

“People who are employed are empowered. This is not about talk, but action,” said NYOIL. He also volunteers with the Tsunami Track Club based in Staten Island.

Houston-based hip hop artist Zin travels frequently to Fort Worth, Texas, to visit his eight-year-old daughter born from a previous marriage. “Even though her mother and I are divorced, we have worked to build a friendship because it’s all about what is best for our daughter. It’s still a struggle but just because you are not with the mother doesn’t mean you should abandon your children,” he said.

Although his parents are no longer a couple, 18-year-old college bound student Keith J. Davis Jr. has a model relationship with his father who instilled in him a desire to be an entrepreneur.

“My father taught me early on the skills of negotiating, marketing, accounting and sales. I have been doing this since the age of 10 when he was selling wholesale clothes out of his trunk,” said the young Mr. Davis. “Without my father in my life I would not be where I am. Both of my parents are my support system.”

His father, Keith Davis Sr., sits at the helm of a marketing firm that has been in existence for over 10 years. “I have always tried to lead by example, instead of telling Keith Jr. how to do something, I would show him. The best teacher is a good example. We have to take care of our children,” he said.

Fathers wanted, fathers needed.

  1. […] Fathers wanted, fathers needed […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: