BOOKS FOR DAD

23 May, 2016

USA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM LAUNCHES OBSERVANCE OF 2016 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY

         

PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 23 May 2016 -- Created in 1994, International Men’s Health Week is designed to heighten awareness about the unique health issues of Men and Boys and to encourage their early detection and treatment. 2016 International Men’s Day Week will be observed worldwide beginning Monday, 13 June 2016 through Father’s Day – Sunday, 19 June 2016 year. The USA International Men’s Day Team will examine the myriad of mental health issues confronting Men and Boys which include, but are not limited to, stress, depression, lack of emotional freedom, and rising suicide rates when it launches America’s observance of 2016 International Men’s Health Week on Sunday, 12 June 2016 with a 4:00 P.M. (E.D.T./New York Time) national telephone conference call. The teleconference call dial-in number is 712-775-7031 and the access code is: 803 828. Participants in the national telephone conference call which is open to the general public will include internationally recognized Thought Leaders on Fatherhood and Men’s Issues from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations.

08 May, 2016

MOTHER'S DAY

                 



          For the past 17 years, I have written and spoken passionately about the critical role that  Men -- Fathers  -- play in the lives of our children – our global village’s “heart and soul” and our bridge to the future.   I have pointed out why Men are so important in our children’s lives; portrayed fathers as the co-architects of our “bridge to the future”;  and explored the key challenges that Fathers throughout our global village struggle to resolve on a day-to-day basis as they quietly and unceremoniously go about the business of positively shaping the minds and souls of the global village’s “ Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers”.    Mothers play an equally critical role in the lives of our children – the “heart and soul” of our global village.  They also positively shape the minds and souls of the global village’s “Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers”.   Like Fathers, Mothers also provide our children – our “heart and soul” – with valuable life lessons and critical tools for successfully navigating the world outside of their immediate environment  -- the “home”.  

 
            So, what did I learn from my Mother?   Etiquette -- the rules of engagement in social and business settings.   How to think independently.   She told me everything I needed to know about thinking independently with one sentence:  “Learn how to think for yourself!”  In retrospect, I think she was trying to make sure that I did not get caught up in “peer pressure”.  The ability to think independently, perform my own research, seek out and weigh the counsel of others, but yet rely on my judgment and my instincts when making a final decision continue to serve me well.   She introduced me to classical music, cryptograms, and astrology,  Some say that I am a good writer.  Well, I have my Mom to thank for that.   One of my first English home work assignments was to write sentences for a series of words.  My mother reviewed my homework each night before I submitted to my teachers at the elementary school I attended.  She was not pleased with what she saw.  Every sentence began with the same word.  So what happened?  My mother gave me great advice about sentence structure which I implement today:  "Never began every sentence with the same word.  Put some variety in your writing.  Make your sentences interesting."  And yes, I had to rewrite those sentences.  But it is one of the many lessons my Mother taught which continues to serve me well.

 
            By the way, she enjoys reading every issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R).  Does she still check out my writing?  Yes! And I would not have it any other way!
 
Happy Mother's Day!

05 May, 2016

RECONNECTING DISCONNECTED SOULS: THE "COMMUNITY FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION" INITIATIVE

            According to the International Centre for Prison Studies located in London in the United Kingdom, approximately 10.1 million souls are languishing in prisons throughout our global village.  But let’s bring this closer to home.  In the United States, it is estimated that at least approximately 2,239,751 souls are incarcerated.  At least approximately 1.7 American children have a parent who is incarcerated.  Many of the  2,239,751 incarcerated souls in the United States are parents.  They are somebody’s Father . . . somebody’s Mother.  For the most part, these Fathers and Mothers are as much emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually disconnected from their children as they are physically disconnected.    Each year, approximately 600,000 souls are released  from correctional facilities throughout the United States.  So, every year, 600,000 traumatized and spiritually, psychologically, emotionally disconnected souls return to our families and our communities.   And the communities that these souls return to, by and large, are equally spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally toxic.    


            The thought of disconnected souls pouring into our communities, raising our children – our babies –the village’s Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers, and returning to the workforce as they struggle to make a life for themselves deeply troubled Thomas E. Robinson, Ph.D., D. Min.   It was this deeply troubling thought that propelled Dr. Robinson to create the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative.  The Initiative is designed to help the disconnected souls emerging from correctional facilities heal their deep seated spiritual, emotional, and psychological wounds created by a lifetime of trauma that is exacerbated by years of institutionalization.  Dr. Robinson clearly understands that incarcerated Men and Women did not emerge from the womb as disconnected souls with criminal intent.  They emerged from the womb as “whole souls” who were insatiably curious, bright-eyed, spontaneous, creative, compassionate,  loving and trusting.   He has counseled incarcerated souls at SCI Graterford, the largest maximum security prison for men in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Dr. Robinson has assisted these souls in identifying and developing coping skills from their childhood traumas, personality disorders, suicide, depression, abandonment and separation disorders.  He has also assisted these souls with career choices, parenting skills, financial responsibility, entrepreneurship skills and legal issues.  Dr. Robinson has crafted  the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative with two components – a Faith-Based Re-entry Program component and an Education component which familiarizes the general public with legislative and political issues directly and indirectly connected to criminal justice and prison reform, the return of rehabilitated citizens, public safety, crime prevention, and alternative faith-based solutions to mass incarceration.  He is bringing together Christians and Muslims through his mission  to provide disconnected souls with the tools they will need to reconnect to their destiny . . . their true purpose for occupying this space and place in the Universe we know as Planet Earth.  

Now, Dr. Robinson is not stepping out on faith alone to reconnect disconnected souls and transform our spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically toxic communities into a nurturing, self-sustaining and vibrant oasis.   On the evening of Monday,  2 May 2016, clergy, social entrepreneurs, community leaders, journalists, and concerned citizens throughout the City of Philadelphia—the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States -- gathered at the Greater Commission Church located in the city’s West Oak Lane section and stepped out on faith with Dr. Robinson to launch the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative.  The business of reconnecting disconnected souls is an “all hands on deck” proposition.   After successfully undergoing a vetting process and training session, male mentors will go into SCI Graterford to assist incarcerated souls on their journey to spiritual, psychological, and emotional healing.  Female mentors who have been successfully vetted and undergone a training session will work with members of the households to which the incarcerated souls will return

 If we are to end the hopelessness . . . the violence . . . the chaos . . . .  that is choking the life out of everyone and everything in our communities, we must change mindsets. And the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative will do exactly that.

14 March, 2016

SAVING OUR CHILDREN . . . THE "MAYOR'S MENTORSHIP INITIATIVE"

It was an unseasonably warm March evening. Sunlight continued to bath the early evening sky as hundreds of thousands of souls emptied out of the multi-storied concrete and glass skyscrapers which dot Philadelphia’s downtown landscape leading to City Hall – the seat of government for the City of Philadelphia – the fifth largest metropolitan area of the United States. After completing an intellectually and for some – physically – grueling day of work, it was time to head home. A normally calm walk home or to the nearest bus stop, or to the entrances leading to the elevated and subway train stations morphed into a chaotic experience for these souls who were greeted by hundreds of school-aged children – children who were so fully engaged in a violent fracas that they were oblivious to the fact that they were in the middle of the city’s business district. What unfolded seemed somewhat surreal. Waves of armed police officers rushed to the scene in squad cars, on foot, and on bicycles to quell the melee and restore order. A number of school children were handcuffed, driven to the nearest police station, and charged with disorderly conduct. The students’ melee in the middle of Center City Philadelphia was punctuated by 48 hours of deadly gun violence that snuffed out the lives of a number of young men in their early twenties in the city’s Grays Ferry, Strawberry Mansion, East Falls, and West Philadelphia neighborhoods.
 
 
There is something going on in the lives of our children that is engulfing them in anger. The anger that resides in the deep caverns within our children’s souls lie dormant like lava on the floor of a volcano until a trigger is pulled. Our children carry around that anger with them to school. It drives their decision making and their interaction with other souls. And then some one or some thing pulls a trigger, and the anger that has been lying dormant on the floor of their souls rises up, bubbles over, and explodes like a volcano. The fracas that some of us witnessed firsthand recently in Center City Philadelphia was the result of our children carrying around anger within the deep caverns of their souls. Somehow, on Wednesday, 9 March 2016, an internal trigger was pulled within the souls of our children and the anger that lay dormant on the floor of their souls erupted like a volcano.
 
What we witnessed was really a “cry for help” from our children. Children will rarely voluntarily go to the adults in their world – their parents – and confide to them that they are angry or depressed or displeased. If they do, they are usually summarily dismissed. They are greeted with retorts of: “Angry? Depressed? Unhappy? About what? You haven’t been out here in this world yet. Wait until you grow up and have to get out in the world and earn a living. Then you can talk about being angry and depressed and unhappy!” However, children will “act out” their displeasure, anger, or depression. They allow their actions to speak for them and leave it up to the adults of the world to figure out what’s going on with them and to fix it. And that’s what happened on the evening of Wednesday, 9 March 2016 in Philadelphia. But this is not a “Philadelphia” problem. This scenario plays out in many cities throughout our nation and our global village.
 
 
Angry, depressed, and distrustful children who ignore boundaries – whose emotional and psychological wounds are not healed, mature into angry, depressed, distrustful adults who will become spouses, parents, workers, and neighbors who ignore boundaries prescribed by social and business etiquette. And that leads to anarchy. Handcuffing and carting off to jail children who engage in antisocial behavior which is a by-product of their deep-seated anger, hurt, and frustration only creates another set of problems. So, why are some of our children so angry in the first place? Surely, when they emerged from the womb, they did not emerge as angry, distrustful, violent, and depressed souls. What is going on in their homes and in their neighborhoods and at school? We really need to get serious about the business of saving our children. We can begin to get serious about the business of saving our children --- particularly “at-risk” children who are very hard to reach – by examining what our children need to help them work through their anger and help heal their emotional and psychological wounds which drive their decision making and their actions. One of the key “pieces of the puzzle” to saving our children and giving them what they need is to provide them with mentors. The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative, created by The Honorable James M. DeLeon, a veteran Philadelphia jurist and Reintegration and Restorative Justice Thought Leader will help key stakeholders not just in the City of Philadelphia, but cities in nations throughout our global village go about the business of “saving our children”. The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative is one of a number of components of Operation Fresh Start ™, a groundbreaking blueprint which eradicates recidivism by creating pathways to redemption and reintegration for formerly incarcerated souls that is masterfully crafted by Judge DeLeon.
 
 
Under The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative, formerly incarcerated individuals will receive mentorship training. They must commit to the Initiative for a period of one (1) full year. Participants in the Initiative will receive a review of any pardon or clemency request prior to its submission to ensure that it is accurate and that all factors are complete for consideration in Pardon and Clemency Applications. Formerly incarcerated individuals will be trained to become mentors by an organization that has a successful track record in training mentors. After completing training, these souls would be dispatched to communities to mentor at-risk youths for a period of one (1) year. Administration of The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative in the United States would encompass the generation of a Letter of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and the Mayor’s Office laying out the benefits of the Initiative. Simultaneously, a Letter of Initiative which explains the program will be generated and distributed to any crime victim with the understanding that the victim has the right to approve – in writing – the proposed Mentor’s participation in the Initiative. Once the Mentor has successfully completed the Initiative, a letter will be generated to the Board of Pardons from the Mayor’s Office personally attesting to this fact. An understanding will be established with the State Supreme Court that the Mentor is a participant in The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative and a similar understanding will be established with the Governor’s Office. Judge DeLeon has assembled a working group consisting of key stakeholders from diverse professional backgrounds who stand ready to help implement The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative by acting as a liaison between communities, organizations providing mentoring training, the Mayor’s Office, and formerly incarcerated individuals who are candidates for the Initiative.
 
 
Our children – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers – through their behavior, are asking us: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” Now the methodology that they choose to use to ask this proverbial question is giving many adults “cause for pause” and creating chaos in our neighborhoods and cities. But some adult in the village needs to responsibly address the proverbial question that our children are asking. That is how we help save them. Mentors can responsibly address this proverbial question. The truth of the matter is we all need mentors. And no one gets through life successfully without a Mentor.
 
By and large, Mentors are the most nonjudgmental individuals in the lives of their mentees. They treat the mistakes that their mentees have made as “teachable moments”. They will do all that they can to provide their mentees with the tools they need not to make a mistake even if it means being unabashedly honest about mistakes that they have made during their journey from childhood to adulthood.
 
 
Or as, my late Mentor once told me: “How do you think I know so much? How is it that I am able to help you? It’s because I’ve made mistakes and I have learned from them. And that is why I can help you.”
 
 
What our children are really saying to us, but do not know how to articulate it, is simply this: “I need someone to believe in me – even when I make mistakes. I need someone to listen to me . . . to understand the feelings and thoughts that I am expressing. I need someone that is going to take me seriously. I need someone that I can trust.” 
 
 
Mentors will tell their mentees: “Hey, pump your brakes. You don’t want to go down that trail. I have been down that same trail and here is what happened to me. . . .”. 
 
At the same time, Mentors are tough task masters. They are unrelenting as they push their mentees to excel and to work at reaching their full potential. Our children need tough task masters in their lives.            
 
I was fortunate enough to have a Mentor who was unabashedly honest and a tough taskmaster. He helped me understand the importance of having a sense of direction in life, taught me how to transform my mistakes into “teachable moments”, and had no problem challenging me and telling me to “pump my brakes” when I was on the verge of “taking a left turn in life”. No one has ever pushed me as hard. I learned how to “dance with life”’ . . . how and when to step out on faith . . . how to identify and create options. “Options” is a word that is not in the vocabulary of most of our children. They need to be taught how to identify and create options.
 
 
A Mentor will do that for them.
 
 
And that is why my faith in the Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative’s ability to save our children is unshakable.
 

26 January, 2016

"HEALING AND REPATRIATION" INITIATIVE FOR THE INCARCERATED: MOVING INCARCERATED MEN INTO THE INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY EQUATION


 
 
          Since 2000, I have published the essays and poems of Incarcerated Men from Maine to Hawaii.  Their essays and poems are moving, inspiring, and instructive.  It is an experience that has helped to change and continues to change my perspective about many things on many different levels.   In 2009, I was selected to become the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day.  I soon discovered that Incarcerated Men were not being included in the International Men’s Day observances.  This was not being done on purpose.  But we are equally culpable for acts of omission as well as acts of commission.  This discovery moved me to create an initiative that would bring Incarcerated Men into the International Men’s Day “equation”. 


             In 2012, for the first time, International Men’s Day was observed in an American correctional facility – the Clinton Correctional Facility located in Dannemora, New York.  On Monday, 19 November 2012, the Clinton Correctional Facility joined Men, Women, institutions, and organizations throughout our global village in observing 2012 International Men’s Day under the theme, “Helping Men and Boys Live Longer, Happier, Healthier Lives”. The success of the inaugural observance of 2012 International Men’s Day at the Clinton Correctional Facility spawned the creation of the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation Initiative” in January 2013.   Observances of International Men’s Day at correctional facilities have taken the form of workshops and discussion groups about a variety of issues that include but are not limited to education, reintegration, and reducing violence and crime in communities.  A number of International Men’s Day Coordinators in other nations are now considering implementing this initiative in their respective countries.   

          For the second consecutive year, on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 -- International Men's Day under the theme, "Working Together For Men And Boys" --  Bare Hill Correctional Facility located in Malone, New York participated in the International Men's Day "Healing and Repatriation" Initiative which provides Incarcerated Men with the opportunity to join individuals, institutions, and organizations in 80 nations in celebrating International Men's Day.  Under the leadership of Mr. Carry Greaves, a Senior Contributing Editor for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) and the Empowerment Coordinator for International Men's Day, a "Call To Prayer" was observed in conjunction with the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys at Bare Hill Correctional Facility on 19 November 2014.  The "Call To Prayer" was followed by a discussion forum consisting of Incarcerated Men who were in their 20s.  The young men talked about their past and a vision for their future.
 
Mr. Greaves had this to say about the event:
 
"The International Men's Day observance was beautiful, yet emotional. The participants gave testimony as to what they would like to accomplish in the future. They spoke about their lifestyle and families and what landed them in prison. The participants are very young men who, for the most part, did not have a father growing up.  All of them blame the fact of not having a father in their homes as the reason why they went astray, joined gangs, sold drugs, and came to prison.  But what I realized is that many of the youth today definitely need a constant guide in their lives.  Someone who will take them under their wings and guide them in the right direction.  There are so many variables as to why they are living a destructive lifestyle.  But we can't continue to just treat the effect and ignore the cause.  We have to go to the root of the problem. We have to take a look at their education, their family life, and go full steam ahead and inspire them to look within so that we bring out the best in them.  It's a lot of work, but we can't ``give  up."      
                                                                                                                                          

          The International Men's Day "Healing and Repatriation" Initiative provides approximately 2,500,000 souls in the United States who are incarcerated in the United States with an opportunity to participate in a global event which encourages them to engage in critical thinking about issues that affect them, their families and loved ones, and the communities in which they have lived and will one day return to.  It is about helping them to see themselves as ‘part of a whole’.  It is one of the many ‘first steps’ that must be taken to heal and “reconnect” spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally approximately 700,000 souls who are released from American prisons every year and place them on the path to successful reintegration into society.  

 

25 January, 2016

EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES OF YOUNG MEN AND BOYS IN AFRICA: MR. NKOMO LETHUKUTHULA--A VOICE FOR AFRICA'S COMMUNITY OF MEN


 
Thank you once again for this special opportunity given to me to make a contribution to the MEN AND BOYS OF COLOR GLOBAL COMMUNITY EMOTIONAL HEALTH TELEPHONE CONFERENCE -- on this special day -- where we effectively seek to emotionally liberate boys and young men, and men, in general. I will attempt to use a narrative on my situation by sharing my past and present experiences.   What I experienced is generally experienced by many boys and young men across Africa. 


I grew up on the commercial farms in Zimbabwe, Matabeleland, South Province, Figtree area. These colonial farms were originally the prime fertile land that had been allotted to the soldiers who had participated in the wars of invasion in the mid to end-1800s and that saw the subjugation and total destruction of the kingdoms around my region and  Africa in general. Those wars marked the end of our independence and freedom and the beginning of colonial rule.  These farms up until early 2000 were formally owned by the white farmers most of whom were the last generation of the original settlers. In 1981,one year after attaining independence my parents teamed up with other parents of the same interest, pooled funds together and bought a farm right in the middle of these white farmers, attempting to start up what they called a cooperative project ,a move that tasted so bitter in the farmers' mouths that they decided to send us to court so as to reverse our move.  Their argument being that we were not commercially skilled farmers.  We  were too many.  We would therefore cause so much trouble: deforestation, soil erosion,poaching,theft,cattle rustling,and all sorts of crimes. They won the case. We were given a few days to pack and leave!


The question was:  How could one evict  people who had purchased a property in a very legal and formal way? No one could understand how the farmers won the case which was so simple and obvious. Our parents refused to comply.  So having defied the court order  the law came down hard on us.  The police came with the machines of destruction.  I was very young – around mid-primary school age. Our parents had told us they had found a good prime place for us to freely and happily stay. They had assured us the place was ours, not a lease arrangement,  like we had done before. We had built a few African mud huts, so we were much excited to build a good four roomed "white man's house" in a few years to come." What surprised us is that the police were destroying our homes in the presence and with the help of the same white farmers.  As boys of school going age this really hurt us -- watching our homes destroyed, our powerless parents watching their homes  going up in flames! No action at all!? We became so confused and angry. We asked so many questions. Did our parents lie to us? Did they illegally  grab this land? Do the police hate Black people? What is it that we did to deserve this? The whites were shouting every time – everywhere shouting at our parents -- shouting at us to "Go back to the reserves!". "Reserves" are dry hot tsetse-fly infested places where the indigenous people were dumped during the partition period in my country. They were moved from their prime fertile lands to those so-called "reserves". The police packed our few things into their not so big trucks and dumped us by the main road, leaving behind most our valuable property in the mess of the rain. Mothers and young children were crying. As boys, men to be, we felt challenged.  We  felt defeated  It crushed our spirit.  We felt we were disappointing .  We felt so emotionally tormented.  It felt like we failed our families. We watched in the open – where it was heavily raining --standing by the roadside  as our homes went down in flame.  Our fathers silently  shaking their heads in despair. 


We camped for weeks on the side of road,naturally attracting the eyes of the media.  After a few days of living by the roadside, our story was in the papers and on televisions.  A few more days later, we were visited by the local council people, and then later by the members of Parliament. Our case was reviewed in a more lawful and fair manner.  In a few more weeks we won the case with the help of a former farm owner.  We went back and started rebuilding our homes -- unfortunately without any form of compensation on the  damaged property and torched homes.  So much of material, psychological and emotional damage, to some of us permanently remains. 


As boys we had learned that we were in the second line of defense, right behind our fathers, defending our homes and our families. When we witnessed our homes going down without a fight from our fathers it brought a mixture of anger and confusion.   Were our fathers weak? Scared? Do white people own us, are they above the law? We asked so many questions. In our African traditions in general, it is a taboo to ask our parents challenging, deep ,searching questions -- especially questioning their authority, their capacities, and their strengths and weaknesses.  We were sure our parents were powerless but we could not understand why,if indeed they bought the property – why were they evicted by the police? Though we finally got our land back,as we grew up around the commercial farms we became so angry.  We became more prejudiced, stigmatized and stigmatizing.  Hatred and anger built up as we experienced more farm cruelties in every corner. Farms are remote places, far away from the modern civilisation, some so far away from the main roads that the farmers  committed a lot of crime and  abuse which went unreported. We witnessed the farmers  shooting our dogs and goats and almost every week,our livestock were impounded if they encroached their farms, and caged inside the kraals(which were  called skeeds), and  starved until they succumbed to death. We witnessed the farm guards and their bosses beating up our mothers and sisters when they were found on their farms collecting firewood and water during the desperate dry seasons. We heard some unconfirmed reports of young men who died from beatings or work accidents,buried on the farms with no reports made to the relevant authorities or relatives informed because some were coming from far regions,some from neighbouring countries with no next of kins known. We grew up hurting and hating. By the way, a  few years before we had witnessed the same farmers fighting on the side of the oppressive minority government. 


Our parents had told us the war of independence was over. The  majority had won the elections, so we would  now live  as EQUALS with everyone -- even free to be white farmers' neighbours . We had been told any one could stay anywhere they chose in the country.  Everyone was free to equally participate in the politics and economics of the country. This, I am sure ,had given our parents that confidence to purchase the farm right in the middle of the white farmers.  


As we grew older the more discrimination we witnessed the more daring we became. We deliberately started poaching wild animals on their farms, stealing any thing portable. Our aim was to inflict pain, to avenge the cruelties we witnessed every day.  We wanted to offload this anger that had built up inside of us from early years.   As youths, we started to challenge the guards -- sometimes physically chasing them around their farms. We became more and more daring with impunity.  Some of us got  arrested and served jail terms. Because there were many families on our farm , it meant there would be a time soon when the farm would not support all these families. The natural resources would dwindle and then get depleted completely at some point.  People were forced to trespass for basic commodities such as water and firewood. It meant more police visits, more arrests almost every day, court summons being the order of the day. Now keep all that in mind as I briefly take you back some few years as we,the young boys, participated in the armed liberation struggles. 


During those war times our basic duties were to check and monitor the enemy movements.   If we saw them , we would  run around looking for the freedom fighters in Zulu called oBhuti(our brothers). Remember we didn't have mobile phones then, so we relied on directions given to us by those who happened to have seen them passing by. A very tough laborious task for school going boys! All this was done during the time after school, the time meant for resting and home work.  The enemies knew about these tactics so it was very dangerous for us. Basically our job was to tell the best most accurate truth or information to our Bhutis and give the best and most deceiving lies to the enemy forces! This is still happening to the boys and young men in the war torn regions around Africa. Many young boys were and are killed in this exerc          ise -- some being accused of lack of full commitment and others accused of selling out.  The question is:  How  do boys serve in a country torn apart by a civil war, where both warring parties want his service?  It is  a very painful experience that affects, in a very negative way, his character, growth,  and parenting as a father.  These fathers become heartless -- no love at all. They just become cold. They are hurting with all the memories of pain -- memories of their loved ones killed, tortured, raped, humiliated, and ridiculed. They therefore in many cases become abusive to their spouses and children. 


Soon after independence we were faced with the fiercest challenge we had never experienced in our entire life. One liberation armed movement, an armed wing of the liberation party PF ZAPU, refused to demobilize, accusing the ZANU PF party that had won the first majority  elections, of rigging the elections. They instead decided to take up their arms and went back to the forests and mountains to fight the black government. The government retaliated by targeting all the leaders and supporters of the ZAPU party  who happened to be many of our parents.  I witnessed,for the first time,my mother physically beaten with a big log on her back. She sustained some very serious internal injuries and she limps up until right now.  Approximately 40 000 innocent unarmed citizens were killed -- their bodies thrown in the unused mines, in mountain caves , and in shallow mass graves.  Up  until NOW their remains haven't been exhumed. The same ruling party that committed those heinous crimes, which is still ruling, now refuses to deal with this matter. So many children were left parentless. Many people were left maimed, raped, and tortured.  Many were thrown in prisons without any charges.  The most targeted ones were the boys and the young men, who were accused of working for and with what they called the "dissidents".  Many young men were killed, tortured, and arrested.  Many were never to be seen again.  A number of boys and young men  left  their homes, dropped out of schools, and crossed the borders to the neighbouring countries like Botswana and South Africa where they are EQUALLY exposed to the next challenge: XENOPHOBIA. These same young boys are still the same targets by the same white farmers here in South Africa who intercept these boys on their way to the cities such as Johannesburg, force them to work on the farms, and after weeks of forced labour,  these farmers call the police who arrest them and deport them back UNPAID.  Now this is the vicious life cycle of the boys and young men in my country and region! What I have witnessed in Johannesburg is that many of these boys are involved in armed robberies and other vicious crimes. They are involved in the illicit use and selling of drugs. We see many of our young men committing suicide here in Johannesburg.  They are very stressed, jobs are scarce, and some have children to support. They are under so much  immense pressure. There are so many suicide cases and deaths from violent fights. They are hurting, confused, and helpless.  They can be arrested at any time because most of them have no legal documents. 


It is my sincere wish and hope therefore that with this little information and much more at our disposal the time will come when we will be able to tackle these challenges as a global village and free the young men and boys from this mental torture which is basically due to a human error and therefore it is us humans who should find the long lasting solutions that provide our young men and boys with what they rightfully deserve: FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS!

 I THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

20 January, 2016

R. DEVIN BEVERLY, Ph.D., HEALTH AND FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST AND MEN'S ISSUES THOUGHT LEADER TO SPEAK AT MEN AND BOYS OF COLOR GLOBAL COMMUNITY EMOTIONAL HEALTH 1/24/2016 TELEPCONFERENCE




 

CONTACT: 

R. Devin Beverly, Ph.D.
Telephone: 757-239-0805
  
           RICHMOND, VA (USA) – 20 January 2016 --     How does racism, lack of real life options, poverty, lack of equal access to physical and mental health resources and support services, unemployment, and mass incarceration impact on the emotional health of Men and Boys of Color?   Are the unique challenges that Men and Boys of Color face robbing them of their emotional freedom?  Do Men and Boys of Color need a safe haven to freely express their wide range of emotions – particularly, the natural reaction to emotional and physical distress?   R. Devin Beverly, Ph.D., health and forensic psychologist and Men’s Issues Thought Leader, will weigh in on these and other questions as a featured speaker at the “Men And Boys Of Color Global Community Emotional Health” Teleconference scheduled for Sunday, 24 January 2016 at 10:00 A.M. (USA – New York Time) and 3:00 P.M. (USA – New York Time).   The teleconference call dial-in number is  712-775-7031 and the access code is: 803 828.  


            Dr. Beverly is moving the African American community to rethink how it is raising its Sons, healing their deep emotional wounds, and dissipating their anger through a groundbreaking DVD entitled, “Angry Black Males:  The Misunderstood Population”.  At the same time, Dr. Beverly is working to move the world to rethink how it can improve the manner in which it can positively interact with Men and Boys of Color and to understand why it is necessary.   Dr. Beverly’s work which was prominently featured in the Spring  2014 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, an international quarterly Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal, has been heralded as one of the key “pieces of the puzzle” to keeping not just African American boys and young adolescent males – but all of our Sons --  out of the “school-to-prison pipeline”.  A mental and behavioral health professional whose professional services encompasses, among other things, clinical leadership, consultation, organizational analysis, and interagency relations, Dr. Beverly deals with violence, alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependence, re-entry and other correctional programming, forensic psychology, and anti-social conduct.


        The “Men And Boys Of Color Global Community Emotional Health” Teleconference is being convened in observance of “January 2016: Men And Boys Emotional Freedom Month” which is the brainchild of the USA International Men’s Day Team in response to the alarmingly rising suicide rates for Men and Boys and in alignment with the theme for 2016 International Men’s Day  -- “Talk About Male Suicide”..   “January 2016:  Men And Boys Emotional Freedom Month” calls attention to, among other things, the need for the creation of safe havens for Men and Boys to freely express their wide range of emotions  and greater and equal access to mental health resources and support for services for our sons, fathers, husbands, grandfathers, great grandfathers, uncles, fiancĂ©es, brothers, cousins, nephews, co-workers, and neighbors.