55 years ago, a man and father, from Atlanta Georgia, named Martin Luther King Jr, stood in our nation’s capital and shared his dream regarding his vision for this nation. His “I have a dream” speech remains a vital part in many lives today, and echoes throughout all of eternity. He said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ His dream came to pass when this most noteworthy cause for equality was accomplished and millions of lives were changed for the better. His passion for what he believed in stirred up a fire within many for equality. I too have a dream, that one day, all men will be viewed as more valuable to children than just a paycheck or weekend visitor.
There is a father absence crisis in America.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.7 million children, more than 1 in 4, live without a father in the home. If fatherlessness was a disease, it would be called an epidemic of epic proportions.
Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today. According to a report conducted in 2017 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data represented children living without a biological, step, or adoptive father. fatherhood.org
Mississippi has the highest number of children living in father-absent homes with 36.2 %. Followed by Louisiana with 34.4% and Alabama 30.7%.
Racially speaking, African American families, have the highest percentage of fatherless homes with over 45%.
So, just as Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.
I too, have a dream.
I have a dream that the 20 million children that live in a home without the physical presence of a father, will one day be less.
A dream that the number of high school dropouts and teenage pregnancies will no longer be 71% higher due to a father not being in the home, will one day be less.
That the number of all children with behavior disorders will no longer be 85% higher due to a father not being in the home, will one day be less.
I too, have a dream that the number of all children who run away and are homeless will no longer be 90% higher due to a father not being in the home, but one day, be less.
The court system
I have a dream that the average amount of parenting time for dads is not just every other weekend and one week during summer, but will be more equal and fair. You can not convince me based on the facts and statistics that for a father to have more time with his child, is not in the child’s best interest. Using the model of every other weekend equates to less than 4 years of total parenting time out of a child’s 18 years as a minor or approximately just 22%.
I have a dream that courtrooms all around this great country. Will judge men and fathers, not by the gender of their identity, but solely by the best interests of the children. A father should not have to fight at least 5 times as hard to be in his own son or daughter’s life as a mother does. Not many parents look at their son’s and say, my dream and desire is for you to have to fight tooth and nail just to be apart of your child’s life or have any contact with them. Nor is it to have you spend what equates to their child’s college fund in attorney fees and ongoing court battles. Yet, this is often the reality for many men and fathers today, simply to have any rights and parenting time with their child or children whatsoever.
Enough is Enough
For far too long men and fathers in our society have been forced to take a backseat as the women’s rights movement has gained popularity. I am not discounting the importance of women and mothers; however, I do take issue with men being put down, discredited, discounted, and dehumanized when it comes to being a parent or penalized just for being a man.
A Father’s love
A father’s love for his child is no less than a mother’s. He can care for his child, just as good as the mother can. Father’s are not glorified babysitters, we are created to be role models for our children. We are to teach our son’s how to be a man and how to treat a lady. We are to teach our daughters how they are to be treated. Just as it takes a male and a female to create a child. It takes a mother and father to effectively raise a child. Fathers and children deserve equal time with one another, just as the mother and child do.
Of course, if one parent is causing the child to live in a toxic environment or harms the child that’s different. However, with all that said and things being equal, children need time with both parents, equally.
A Father’s role
Thinking back over your life, how many of you can say that you are where you are or who you are today because of your father? Whether he was your role model and someone that you looked up to or admired. Or someone who wasn’t there. Yet you are inspired and determined to spare your child the pain of not having their father in their lives. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum. It goes to say a father played a critical part in who you are today. And, who you will become tomorrow.
A call to action
So, as a result of this growing crisis, I’m calling on The President of the United States, Congress and Senate to pass new laws to put an end to this epidemic. Our children are our most precious resource. It is time to start standing up for them, speaking out for them and fighting for what’s best for them. They are the ones who are suffering the most from this grave injustice.
The Father Challenge
I challenge all men and fathers to join me on a national day and movement for father’s rights. On August 28th, 2019, in Washington D.C. Or your local city or town hall in honor of the great Reverend, Martin Luther King Jr. We will meet and gather in Washington D.C. To celebrate not only his achievements regarding the civil rights movement but to start a movement of fathers rights.
I’m calling on every organization that believes in the importance of the institution of fatherhood. From religious and faith-based leaders, community advocates, organizers of the various boys and girls clubs, and local recreation departments. The Father Initiative, The Father’s Rights Movement, as well as, celebrities. To come join us! Let’s use our influence and voices to speak up for those who do not have a voice . . . our children. This isn’t about who the better parent is, it is about what is in the best interest of our children.
I’ll conclude with this passage from Martin Luther King Jr., just as he ended his speech that day.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men, and white men, Jews, and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and be singing.
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
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