Saturday morning's "fatherhood walk-around" the 3.3 mile Rose Bowl and Brookside Golf Course with families and friends was part of a plan by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. to get fathers more involved with their children.
Accepting President Obama's national fatherhood challenge, the Fraternity is on a world-wide mission to get men reunited with family and especially their children.
We want to grow fatherhood family relations "from weeds to seeds" within all families, said Harold Reese, coordinator of the event. "We want this to be an opportunity for fathers to get back into rhythm with their families."
During his father's day message, president Obama cited the importance of Father's Day, saying, ". . . we're blessed to live in a world where technology allows us to connect instantly with just about anyone on the planet." He said, ". . . no matter how advanced we get, there will never be a substitute for the love and support and, most importantly, the presence of a parent in a child's life. And in many ways, that's uniquely true for fathers."
At its 2011 Centennial Conclave in Washington, D.C. and again in 2012 in Minneapolis, the fraternity endorsed president Obama's fatherhood and mentorship initiative. Dr. Andrew Ray, Grand Basileus, sent out a call-to-action for total fraternity involvement indicating the merit of promoting greater father interest in family life.
A previous article, (Taylor) stated that the Fraternity seeks to do its part to "close the gap on father-absence and promote fatherhood, the necessity of mentoring, and the importance of fathers playing an active and responsible role in the lives of their children."
The Fraternity's entire membership of college educated men, in 750 chapters throughout the world, is asked to "man-up" and take on the responsibility of enhancing fatherhood activity throughout its sphere of influence.
Fraternity and 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data specified, "There is a strong correlation between a father's absence from the home, stability of families, and the state of a community's health."
Also, "33 percent of American children (66 percent of African American children) live apart from their biological father; 71 percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes; girls without a father in the home increase the likelihood of teenage pregnancy, unhealthy relationships and low self-esteem."
The data shows, "Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to live in poverty; 66 percent are more likely to engage in illicit drug use; become teenage parents; engage in criminal behavior; participate in gang activity; be victims of child abuse; and experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems."
About 20 members from throughout the Valleys attended the fatherhood walk-around; some brought their children. James Wilson, president Inland Valley Uplift Foundation and chairman of the Zeta Tau Fatherhood Initiative, made the trip from Ontario. Wilson was excited to see the sense of family and brotherhood on display during the walk.
Community members and business leaders joined in the walk including members of Tau Tau Chapter based in Compton, CA. Kwame Dow, Basileus, Tau Tau Chapter, said he will be talking about the walk-around at his next chapter meeting. Next year, he said, he "will definitely bring his daughter" to walk with him as well as other members. Brandon Shamim, President of Beacon Management Group also attended. He said, "Taking a jaunt around the iconic Rose Bowl with your brothers and sisters is a wonderful reminder of celebrating fathers everywhere and traditions old and new."
Disraeli Ellison, chapter Library Exhibit Curator, was pleased that the chapter was "vigorously planning an even greater showing of father solidarity with family" in activities during the next six months. Johnie Drawn, Basileus of Zeta Tau Chapter, said, "Going forward we will go bigger and get churches, clubs, other groups and organizations, and businesses in the area to come join with us on Father's Day Weekend."
He has continued to push for greater involvement with area youth.