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15 October, 2018

IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) TURNS 19!



             On 15 October 1999 – 19 years ago – with the help and kindness of a number of wonderful souls – I launched IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, a quarterly international Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal.   IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® was conceived by my late mentor, L.T.  Henry --  a classically trained jazz musician who spoke five languages – Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Spanish, and Russian; photojournalist; author; and Success Motivation and Sales Trainer.    He played briefly with The Philadelphia Orchestra and was a former drummer for internationally acclaimed songstress and film and television actress the late Ms. Della Reese.  “L.T.” as he was affectionately referred to by those of us who knew and loved him, envisioned a world in which Men would transcend the boundaries of geography, language, ethnicity, religion, culture, politics, class, and economics and begin working together to find solutions to issues  that made it difficult for them to positively shape the minds and souls of Our Children, move our families forward, and strengthen and empower our communities.   
              The world  that L.T. envisioned has come into existence.  He died unexpectedly on 1 March 1999 without having the opportunity to fully develop his vision for the world – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®.   IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® is L.T.’s vision for the world . . . it is his legacy.  For the past 19 years, I have worked to resurrect L.T.’s vision and perpetuate his legacy – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®.   The help and kindness that I have received from so many souls – a number of whom I have never met – and all of whom never had an opportunity to meet  L.T.  . . . to talk to him . . .  to be buoyed by his irrepressible optimism and his quick wit  . . .  has enabled me  -- for 19 years – to resurrect his vision and perpetuate his legacy.   And I have learned so much from each of you.   Thank you for your kindness and support!



                Here’s to the next 19 years!

10 October, 2018

PHILADELPHIA'S "TOWN HALL ON ERADICATING MARGINALIZATION . . . VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY" MARKS ITS OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR MEN AND BOYS - SUNDAY, 4 NOVEMBER 2018


CONTACT:


Mr. Stephen Ridley, Coordinator
SCI Graterford, PA LIFERS Public Safety Initiative External Navigator Project
(610) 803-3043
E-Mail: sar26@drexel.edu


Diane A. Sears
Member, OPERATION FRESH START (TM) Working Group
267-581-3963
E-Mail: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com


          Inaugurated in November 2014, the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys (https://www.goodmenproject.com/featured-content/international-day-of-prayer-for-men-and-boys-to-be-observed-on-sunday-4-november-2018-wcz/) brings together members of the Interfaith Community, key stakeholders, civic organizations, and concerned citizens to collaboratively address and resolve key challenges which marginalize Men and Boys and the communities in which they live. These key challenges include, but are not limited to, violence, poverty, recidivism, inadequate or lack of access to mental and physical health resources and support services, legitimate real-life options, and positive role models. Philadelphia will mark the observance of the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys with the convening of a “Town Hall On Eradicating Marginalization . . . Violence Prevention And Economic Sustainability” on Sunday, 4 November 2018 from 10:00 A.M. (E.S.T.) through 1:00 P.M. (E.S.T.) at the Juvenile Justice Center at 48th Street and Haverford Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Registration and attendance is free. To register, visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/philadelphias-town-hall-on-eradicating-marginalization-violence-prevention-and-economic-tickets-51237011280. 


          The “Town Hall On Eradicating Marginalization . . . Violence Prevention And Economic Sustainability” will bring together Philadelphia’s Interfaith Community, key stakeholders, civic organizations, and concerned persons for a solutions-based dialogue addressing rising violence in the City of Philadelphia and its underlying causes in response to the “Call To Action On Violence Prevention” issued on 27 September 2018 by the Honorable James Francis Kenney, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia. Town Hall participants will also learn about steps taken to address rising violence and its underlying causes by External Team members of the SCI Graterford, PA LIFERS Public Safety Initiative External Navigator Project and OPERATION FRESH START ™ Working Group members who work with The Honorable James M. DeLeon, a highly acclaimed veteran jurist, and the architect of OPERATION FRESH START™ -- a multi-tiered results-oriented blueprint for addressing and eradicating, inter alia, violence, recidivism, and poverty in the City of Philadelphia. During the past 10 months, the two groups have held Working Group Meetings; worked on a plan that addresses violence, lack of positive role models, recidivism, and lack of legitimate real-life options; selected a section of the city to focus its efforts to address rising violence and its underlying causes, and the launch of its “Middle Neighborhood Orientation Campaign”. 


       Clergy, concerned citizens, business leaders, educators, block captains, school administrators, law enforcement professionals, members of neighborhood associations, legislators, legal professionals, health care professionals and providers, social services professionals and providers, social entrepreneurs, Restorative Justice Advocates, community activists, Returning Citizens, Criminal Justice Reform Advocates, business leaders, and members of the creative community are encouraged to attend.

11 September, 2018

REMEMBERING 9/11






The United States International Men's Day Team remembers the souls lost on Tuesday, 11 September 2001.  We can all remember where we were and what we were doing on that day.  A calm and beautiful sunlit morning -- transformed into an unfathomable nightmare by the news of two planes crashing into the World Trade Center in New York, followed by the report of a plane crashing into the Pentagon which was followed by the report of a plane crashing in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  It is a day that forever changed everything for everyone.



10 September, 2018

USA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM JOINS INSTITUTIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGHOUT GLOBAL VILLAGE IN OBSERVING WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY -- 10 SEPTEMBER 2018


The United States International Men's Day Team joins institutions, organizations, and individuals throughout our global village in observing World Suicide Prevention Day  -- today -- 10 September 2018.   We are losing far too many Men and Boys to suicide.




Are we missing the signs that something terribly wrong is going on with the Men and Boys in our lives?   Men and Boys are socialized not to complain . . . not to express the natural and spontaneous reaction to pain — be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or psychological. We cannot expect the Men and Boys in our lives to come running to us and unburden themselves with the spiritual, emotional, or psychological distress that plagues their souls. They will not come to us and say: “I need help. Help me, I’m drowning.” They are socialized to be strong and being strong and being a man means you do not ask for help. They have been socialized to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness — that it is “unmanly.” But more importantly, if the Men and Boys in our lives do come to us seeking help, will we be able — willing — to help? Will we know what to do . . . what to say? Will we hit the “pause” button, “step out of ourselves,” and embrace their souls?



We should be engaging the Men and Boys in our lives in conversations — real conversations — every day. We should be asking questions. Questions like “What happened today? Did you have a good day? Did you have a bad day? How do you feel? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you depressed? What is going on in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed or depressed or misunderstood? What do you need and want me to do to help you get through this difficult time?”



We should not accept "Everything's okay" as an answer.



We need to step out of ourselves and embrace the souls of others -- the souls of the Men and Boys in our lives.   We step out of ourselves and embrace the souls of others by asking the questions I have suggested.



By stepping out of ourselves and embracing the souls of others -- the souls of the Men and Boys in our lives -- we are providing them with a life line.



Stepping out of ourselves and embracing the souls of others is very easy.  Just ask yourself:  "What would I want?"   

30 August, 2018

A CALL TO ACTION: IMPARTIAL AND FAIR TREATMENT IN PAROLE INITIATIVE


           On 29 August 2018, the International Men’s Day Team launched the global inaugural observance of the “Impartial And Fair Treatment In Parole” Initiative.  The “Impartial And Fair Treatment In Parole” Initiative is not an “one day affair:”  It is a “Call To Action” which, over the course of the next 12 months, will generate solutions-based dialogues addressing the barriers to “Impartial And Fair Treatment In Parole” and the development of holistic strategies to effectively address and eradicate these barriers  It will serve to move the issue of “Impartial And Fair Treatment And Parole” into national and global dialogues on Criminal Justice Reform and Restorative Justice. Inaugurated by Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D., a humanitarian, Gender Issues Thought Leader, Founder of International Men’s Day, educator, prolific author and poet, the “Impartial And Fair Treatment In Parole” Initiative is a “Call To Action” to educate citizens about the parole process – particularly, the family members and loved ones of incarcerated souls; support institutions, organizations, and individuals that assist eligible candidates successfully navigate the parole process; and help ensure that model prisoners are not arbitrarily denied parole in initial and, if necessary,  subsequent parole hearings. 

            Why has the parole process become a concern of the International Men’s Day Team?  

           In 2017, a brilliant soul and model prisoner with whom Dr. Teelucksingh and I have worked with for many years on numerous projects was arbitrarily denied parole for a very frivolous reason – despite having a low risk assessment score, a written offer of employment, a permanent address in the community to which he would return upon his release, and multiple Letters of Support advocating his release.  Throughout his period of incarceration, the gentleman in question positively enhanced his institutional environment and the lives of other incarcerated souls.   Without any assistance, the model prisoner prepared a 160-page parole packet which he presented to the Parole Board.  He was one of eight eligible candidates from the same correctional institution who appeared before the Parole Board on the same day – 29 August 2017.  Out of the eight eligible candidates who appeared before the Parole Board on 29 August 2017, only one was granted parole and it was his third parole hearing.

            The scenario I just described is not an anomaly.  Countless incarcerated souls have atoned for the transgressions they committed, mentored other incarcerated souls, and created initiatives that not only enhanced their institutional environment but also served to effectively address and resolve key challenges that negatively impact the communities they left and will return to – key challenges such as Fatherlessness, intergenerational incarceration, violence, and lack of positive male role models and access to legitimate real-life options.  These souls have clearly demonstrated that they are more valuable “on the outside” and that upon their release, they will implement their solutions-based initiatives in the communities they return to. Yet, many of these souls continue to languish in correctional facilities after being repeatedly denied parole – the majority of whom navigated the parole process alone – without the benefit of a legal team or assistance from family members, loved ones, or key stakeholders from their community.   Parole impacts everyone.  Why?  Because incarcerated souls who are granted parole will and do return to our communities.  In view of the fact that there are – at any given point in time – approximately 4.7 million Americans who are either on parole or probation, the likelihood that one of your neighbors is on parole is great.  Institutions, organizations, and individuals in communities have a vested interest in the parole process --- particularly, if disparities exist.   If parole is capriciously denied to model prisoners who have positively enhanced their institutional environment and designed and implemented mentoring and parenting programs for their incarcerated colleagues and/or positive life-transforming initiatives which help and resolve crime and violence issues that inundate the community to which they plan to return, everyone loses.   Many model prisoners who will return to their communities are on a mission to reduce crime, Fatherlessness, intergenerational incarceration; mentor at-risk children and youths; and help create legitimate real-life options.   Institutions, organizations, and individuals will be the beneficiaries of this mission – a mission that will, among other things, reduce the burden of taxpayers, help to create a nurturing and safe environment for the most vulnerable members of communities – its children and its Elders; attract new businesses and jobs to the neighborhood commercial corridors; and restore order and the rule of law.   Thus, institutions, organizations, and individuals in communities – everywhere –- must find a way to become proactive in the parole process.  A holistic approach to the parole process is needed.  

         Having said that, I think we need to be clear about what parole is.  Parole is not a privilege.  Parole is earned.    It is defined as “the early release from prison, before the prisoner has served the entire sentence”.  And when an incarcerated soul is granted parole, he or she is still under supervision for a period of time – usually, for the balance of his or her sentence.  Incarcerated souls released on parole must comply with a set of rules or what is known as “conditions of parole”.  Violation of these rules could lead to their being returned to prison.  So, what are some of the “conditions of parole”?  In addition to meeting regularly with his or parole officer, an incarcerated soul who has been granted parole must, as an example:

·         Obey all laws. 
·         Inform his or her parole officer at all times of his or her location.  This could involve being required to call a parole officer on designated dates and at designated times or the wearing of an electronic or GPS tracking device.
·         Request permission to travel.  Souls granted parole may be restricted from engaging in international travel and/or traveling to another state.
·         Refrain from the use of alcohol and drugs.
·         Allow his or her parole officer to conduct random searches of their residence – searches which do not need to be supported by probable cause.
·         Pay court-ordered fines and restitution – restitution is defined as money to be paid to victims of the crime committed by the soul who has been granted parole for losses incurred.
·         Attend court-ordered counseling or treatment programs -- e.g., anger management courses.

As you can see, incarcerated souls who have been granted parole must walk along a very narrow and straight line. 

        During the weeks and months ahead, the International Men’s Day Team – which consists of 84 nations – will work to move “Impartial And Fair Treatment In Parole” to the forefront of the ongoing Dialogue on Criminal Justice Reform and Restorative Justice.  You can look for updates on the International Men’s Day site at: https://www.usainternationalmensday.blogspot.com; IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s blog at: http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com or on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com).

26 August, 2018

HOUSE OF THE AFRICAN APPOINTED GHANA'S INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY COORDINATOR - GHANA JOINS INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY UNION

The UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM warmly welcomes HOUSE OF THE AFRICAN as GHANA'S INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY COORDINATOR.   We applaud HOUSE OF THE AFRICAN'S humanitarianism which is exemplified through its empowering and healing Initiative - THE WORTHY MEN INITIATIVE.  

Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY UNION!

21 August, 2018

BOYS MENTORING ADVOCACY NETWORK AND NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM LAUNCH PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING CAMPAIGN IN OBSERVANCE OF 2018 PROSTATE CANCER MONTH



Nigeria's Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network and the Nigeria International Men's Day Team will join institutions, organizations, and individuals throughout our global village in observing 2018 Prostate Cancer Month with the launch of its Prostate Cancer Screening Campaign.  To learn more about or become a sponsor for the Prostate Cancer Screening Campaign, send an e-mail to: bmanadvocacy@gmail.com or call +234 802 301 0608.  You can also visit the website for Boys Mentoring Advocacy Network at: www.bmanadvocacy.org.


IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) TURNS 19!

             On 15 October 1999 – 19 years ago – with the help and kindness of a number of wonderful souls – I launched IN SEARCH OF...