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03 February, 2014

BARE HILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY'S 2013 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY OBSERVANCE



CONTACT:

Diane A. Sears
International Men’s Day Coordinator – United States
Chair, USA 2012-2022 International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan
Member, International Men’s Day Coordination Committee
E-Mail: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com


A LOOK AT BARE HILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY’S
2013 INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY OBSERVANCE

                   MALONE, NEW YORK (USA) – 3 February 2013 -- Inaugurated in 2012 by the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day and Chair of the USA 2012-2022 International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan, the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation” Initiative facilitates the observance of International Men’s Day in correctional facilities in the United States.  Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone, New York observed 2013 International Men’s Day  on Tuesday, 19 November 2013.  The observance took the form of a roundtable discussion moderated by an Empowerment Coordinator for International Men’s Day.  A group of young men -- the youngest being 19 years of age and the oldest being 25 years of age – engaged in a “straight, no-chaser” dialogue during which they examined the violence plaguing our communities and the reasons for it.   It was the consensus of the group that the violence plaguing our communities was caused by a lack of role models, hip-hop music, parents who are on drugs, gangs fighting and killing each other, and lack of education.  One of young men in the group stated that he believed that the adults have given up on the younger generation and as a result, many young men join gangs.

The Empowerment Coordinator asked one of the young men in the group why he joined a gang.  The young man responded unflinchingly that he was in a gang because he likes to inflict pain on people and that he gets a rush and a thrill from it.

Each of the participants in the roundtable discussion was asked how a safer community could be created and how each of them could be an asset to their communities.  It was the consensus of the participants in the roundtable discussion that creating a safer community started with each of them and their families.  They expressed the view that once they were able to “get themselves together”, they should not be reluctant to help their communities.    The Empowerment Coordinator asked members of the roundtable discussion to identify whom they would like to make amends for the wrongs they have committed.  All of the young men stated that they would like to atone and make amends to their mothers.  The gentlemen stated that they wanted to tell their mothers that they are sorry for disappointing them and making them cry.  Each of the gentlemen was given an assignment by the Empowerment Coordinator.  The assignment took the form of writing a letter to their mothers and families apologizing for their wrongs and explaining how they were willing to be an asset to their communities.  Each gentleman wrote a letter and one gentleman also wrote a poem dedicated to his grandmother who helped raise him along with his mother.

So, what about the young man in the group who announced that he joined a gang because he liked hurting people?  He and the Empowerment Coordinator for International Men’s Day engaged in a private, one-on-one conversation.   The Empowerment Coordinator explained to him that he was part of the problem and he was making things worse for himself by inflicting harm on people for no apparent reason and  provided the following account:

“He gave me a stare that said he wanted help.  But he didn’t know how to ask.  He was preoccupied with what his ‘friends’ would say if he changed.  I told him that there is nothing to be afraid of and if he wanted to change, the change would have to start now.  After showing him that I cared, he decided that he would not be a participant in any violent acts.  He said that he wanted to obtain his GED and go to college.  So I told him if he needed some tutoring, then I’m here.  The time that I spent with these young men taught me a lot.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done.”

         For information about International Men’s Day, visit its website at www.imd-global.org.

        For information about the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation” Initiative, send an e-mail to: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com.


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