09 February, 2014
"KEEPING MEN AND BOYS SAFE": THE UNITED STATES AND 2013 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY
Is there a connection between “Keeping Boys and Men Safe” and creating and sustaining a better and safer world? The individuals, institutions, and organizations in over 70 nations which observed 2013 International Men’s Day seem to think so. Throughout Calendar Year 2013, Global and Regional Coordinators from nations around the world which included Canada, Cuba, the United States, Argentina, Botswana, Italy, Bosnia, Tanzania, Australia, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, India, Egypt, Seychelles, Croatia, Singapore, Malta, Ireland, Burundi, Hungary, Austria, Ghana, Denmark, Norway, Isle of Man, Romania, China, Pakistan, Grenada, and the Cayman Islands, under the theme, “Keeping Men and Boys Safe” worked to move the world to improve the manner in which it addresses and resolves key challenges that threaten the safety of Men and Boys throughout our global village. When Men and Boys suffer and when Men and Boys are not afforded critical opportunities to live fulfilling, enriched, happy, healthy, and long lives, everyone suffers.
On International Men’s Day – Tuesday, 19 November 2013 -- and the weeks and days leading up to the worldwide observance, the United States through its Regional Coordinators rolled out a “Military In Transition” platform which explored the myriad of challenges faced by military personnel and veterans as they struggle to return to civilian life while also focusing on Mass Incarceration and Reintegration, Education, and Fatherhood as a means of helping to keep “men and boys safe”. So, how did some cities in the United States usher in the worldwide observance of International Men’s Day? Let’s take a look:
One of the largest and oldest Men’s Rights organizations in the United States, the National Coalition for Men (www.ncfm.org) joined institutions, individuals, and organizations in over 70 nations in observing 2013 International Men’s Day. On Tuesday, 19 November 2013, the National Coalition for Men raised awareness for International Men’s Day by hosting a “Mix and Mingle” event at the Society Billiard Café in San Diego, California.
Luther College (Decorah, Iowa)
Under the leadership of Sheila Radford-Hill, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the Diversity Center at Luther College (www.luther.edu) located in Decorah, Iowa, 2013 International Men’s Day was observed. For the second consecutive year, the “Call A Man” Campaign was rolled out. The “Call A Man” Campaign encouraged members of the Luther College community to celebrate and honor the contributions and sacrifices of Men on Tuesday, 19 November 2013, by calling their fathers, grandfathers, sons, uncles, nephews, brothers, husbands, cousins and significant others and asking them to take care of themselves and reminding them how much they are loved and needed.
Malone, New York
The International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative
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 Committee, the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation” Initiative facilitates the observance of International Men’s Day in correctional facilities. 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 Mr. Carry Greaves, a Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® and the Empowerment Coordinator for 2013 International Men’s Day.
A group of young men -- the youngest being 19 years of age and the oldest being 25 years of age – 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. Mr. Greaves 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. Each member of the roundtable discussion was asked to identify to 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 Mr. Greaves. 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 Greaves for International Men’s Day engaged in a private, one-on-one conversation. Mr. Greaves 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.”
New York City
“A Call To Action” to New York to join cities in over 70 nations throughout our global village in the observance of 2013 International Men’s Day under the theme, “Keeping Men and Boys Safe”, was issued by Ms. Marie Roker-Jones, Founder of Raising Great Men ™ and Associate Editor for the Good Men Project (www.goodmenproject.com) and Mr. Taylor Hinton of The Transformed Male (http:/transformedmale.com/) on 24 October 2013. Ms. Roker-Jones rolled out a “Call To Action” for Women to support the mental and emotional health for Men by signing a pledge which was published on, among other places, IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s blog at http://globalfatherhooddialogue. blogspot.com. A press release which announced the “Call To Action” and encouraged women to sign the pledge to support the emotional and mental health of the Men in their lives was issued on 16 October 2014 and published on, among other places, IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s blog at http://globalfatherhooddialogue.blogspot.com.
“We are calling on men and women to submit their personal stories of how they need support or how they have been supported. We want to create a safe space for men and boys to share as well as help women recognize how they can support the males in their life,” explained Ms. Roker-Jones. In the days leading up to International Men’s Day which was observed worldwide on Tuesday, 19 November 2013, under Ms. Roker-Jones’ leadership, focus was placed on the mental and emotional health of Men. On 13 November 2013, a “Google hangout” video interview concerning mental health awareness was conducted with Dr. Ed Adams and Mr. Kevin Breel. Dr. Jed Diamond explored “Male Mental Health: How to Prevent Suicide and Violence” in a TWITTER chat on 15 November 2013. And on the evening of International Men’s Day from 8:00 P.M. (E.D.T.) through 9:00 P.M. (E.D.T.), Ms. Roker-Jones conducted a live FACEBOOK interview with Ms. Diane A. Sears, the United States Coordinator for 2013 International Men’s Day.
Cleveland, Ohio On Tuesday, 19 November 2013, under the leadership of Mr. Gregory Johnson, the Ohio (USA) Regional Coordinator for 2013 International Men’s Day, the “Military In Transition” Initiative was launched. The launch took the form of a formal announcement on ABC television affiliate WEWS Channel 5 on a show hosted by Mr. Leon Bibb. The announcement concerning the launch of the “Military In Transition” Initiative was made on Monday, 4 November 2013 by Mr. Johnson and his wife Dr. Theresa Meija Johnson. For the first time in the history of the observance of International Men’s Day in the United States, the challenges faced by military veterans and their families came under exploration – an exploration facilitated by Mr. Johnson and his wife Dr. Johnson.
“Following the live television announcement of the Military In Transition Initiative, we walked back to our car and a younger gentleman approached us and said, ‘Thank you for supporting us military guys with the launch of this program. I asked him how he had learned of it so quickly and he said he had just seen it on television and wanted thank us for what will occur on November 19th. We also received an invitation to a Veterans’ Day observance in City Hall to distribution information concerning this initiative,” remarked Mr. Johnson.
Under the banner of 2013 International Men’s Day, Mr. Johnson reached out to members of the United States military and conveyed appreciation for their service to their country and sincere concern for the challenges that confront them as they rejoin their families and communities. A Town Hall panel discussion entitled, “Military In Transition” was convened at Cuyahoga Community College’s Metro Campus UTC in Room 229 from 10:00 A.M. (E.D.T.) through 12:00 P.M. (E.D.T.) on Tuesday, 19 November 2013, which explored a range of issues that included, but were not limited to, suicide, homelessness, relationships/marriage and employment.
“There are 21.2 million military veterans in the United States. Approximately 1.6 million military veterans are female; 9.6 million are 65 years of age or older; 7.4 million are estimated to be Vietnam-era military veterans; and 2.3 million are estimated to be Korean War-era veterans. Approximately 5.4 million veterans have served in the Gulf Wars while 1.6 million veterans have served in World War II. After giving ‘their all’ in service to their country, America’s soldiers return home and struggle to make the transition from military life to civilian. Many are homeless, unemployed and many are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Mr. Johnson observed.
Proclamation Issued for 2013 International Men’s Day by Mayor of City of Philadelphia
The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia issued a Proclamation designating Tuesday, 19 November 2013 as “International Men’s Day” throughout the City of Philadelphia.
Mass Incarceration, Re-Entry, and Reintegration Symposium Conducted by The Center for Returning Citizens
Fatherhood Practitioners, social services professionals and providers, health care professionals and providers, legislators, business leaders, formerly incarcerated individuals who are now referred to as ‘Returning Citizens’, and concerned citizens flocked to The Friends Center at 1501 Cherry Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend an all-day Mass Incarceration, Re-Entry, and Reintegration Symposium facilitated by The Center for Returning Citizens (www.tcrcphilly,org) and its Founder and Executive Director Mr. J. Jondhi Harrell, in observance of International Men’s Day. For the first time, mass incarceration, re-entry, and reintegration issues were explored on International Men’s Day. Mr, Harrell served as the Master of Ceremonies for the symposium which provided attendees with breakfast and a full-course lunch. The reading of the Mayoral Proclamation for 2013 International Men’s Day and an explanation of the origin and mission of International Men’s Day was provided by Ms. Diane A. Sears, the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day (www.imd-global.org), member of the International Men’s Day Coordination Committee where she represents the United States of America, and Chair of the USA 2012-2022 International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan Committee. Mark Boyd, Esquire the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia (www.goodwillnj.org) during his discussion entitled, “Employment Opportunities for Returning Citizens and the Philadelphia Community,” unveiled his powerful vision and national model for resolving the unemployment crisis for Returning Citizens which would have a positive rippling effect through communities throughout the City of Philadelphia. Mr. Boyd proposed, among other things, attracting manufacturing companies to the City of Philadelphia which would provide employment and competitive wages to Returning Citizens, expand the City’s tax base, eradicate blight created by abandoned buildings which were once manufacturing plants, and transform the City of Philadelphia into the nation’s manufacturing mecca. He suggested the creation of a coalition among legislators, concerned citizens, the business community, and returning citizens is a first step to getting the job done Mr. Reuben Jones Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Dads (www.frontlinedads.org) explored “Mentoring and Violence Prevention: Keeping Our Young Men and Boys Safe”. “Community, Civic Responsibility, and Family” was examined by Mr. Malik Aziz, Founder and Chairman of Exhoodus Networks, Inc. while Mr. Nathaniel Bracey, who serves as Director of Housing, Education & Community Development for The Center for Returning Citizens focused on “Celebration of the History, Culture and Self Image of Afrikans in America”. Author of “Guilty By Reason of Arrest” and Founder of “Familiar Faces Against Incarceration (www.fami.org), Mr. Terrance Tykeem, punctuated the symposium with a discussion entitled, “The Creation of a National Movement for Returning Citizens”. Attendees and speakers of the symposium viewed a condensed screening of the award-winning film documentary produced by Matthew Pillischer, Esquire entitled, “Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the United States”.
National Telephone Conference Brings Together Thought Leaders and Key Stakeholders to explore the “Role of Fathers in Education”
Under the leadership of Pastor Anthony Stevenson, Sr., the Tri-State (Pennsylvania/New Jersey/ Delaware) USA Regional Coordinator for 2013 International Men’s Day, a historic national telephone conference was conducted on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 from 2:00 P.M. (E.D.T.) through 4:00 P.M. (E.D.T.) which brought together educators, health care professionals and providers, Fatherhood Practitioners and Advocates, entrepreneurs, and clergy throughout the United States. It was the first time in the history of the celebration of International Men’s Day in the United States that a national telephone conference was convened to discuss the “Role of Fathers in Education”. Mr. Kenneth Gamble, an internationally acclaimed songwriter and record producer who co-founded with Mr. Leon Huff, Philadelphia International Records and transformed the City of Philadelphia into the musical capital of the world served as guest speaker for the national telephone conference. Mr. Gamble, who is the Founder of Universal Companies and Schools which provides affordable housing along with educational and health resources -- a global model for education and urban revitalization, was joined by Mr. Robert D. Johnson, a nationally acclaimed expert on Fatherhood and Family issues who serves as the National Campaign Director of the Fathers in Education Campaign and a member of the National Fatherhood Leadership Group (“NFLG”) where he serves as the organization’s National Mobilization Officer; David Shipon, M.D., F.A.C.C., Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Chief Executive Officer of the Athlete Health Organization www.athletehealth.org); Dr. Thomas Reid, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest NuStop (www.swnustopcom) ; Dr. Zachary C. Husser, Sr. of “Save Our Sons”; Mr. Lance Dickson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of “Committed Fathers Alliance” (www.committedfathers.org); Mr. Tony Nelson of Citizens Institute for People with Criminal Records; Alvin S. Perry, DBA, MBA, Founder of Critical zone (www.criticalzoneinc.com_; Mr. Harve Nichols, Director of Programing at People United Resource Center; Reverend William Harris of “Godfathers”; Mr. Raheem Stevenson, a Wealth and Family Legacy Building expert; and Ms. Diane A. Sears, the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day (www.imd-global.org), member of the International Men’s Day Coordination Committee, and Chair of the USA 2012-2022 International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan Committee.
The Brothers Network Honors an American Inventor On 19 November 2010, The Brothers
Network facilitated Philadelphia’s two-day inauguration celebration of 2010 International Men’s Day. Since that time, it has consistently observed International Men’s Day and celebrated the valuable contributions that Men make to our families, our communities, and to our world every day. The Brothers Network observed 2013 International Men’s Day by celebrating an American inventor Mr. Michael Smith.
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