Roosevelt, N.Y. – Delayed but not denied, the Boys to Men Celebration intended for Father’s Day Weekend, which was unnecessarily halted by two vexing principalities in the Roosevelt Public Library occurred in spirit during a hyped up fatherhood workshop turned extravaganza. Good food, music and poignant words from dignitaries made the event a success.
Renowned restaurant, L.L. Dent, who was recently featured on FOX news, donated their fine southern breakfast cuisine. Music by Elder Jeffrey Ballard of Healing Hearts Ministries, who sang various jazzy R&B and Gospel songs and played saxophone. His music was a classy backdrop on this celebratory occasion.
Wilton Robinson, the Roosevelt Public Library VP and Trustee, organized and funded the event, which was to take place initially on June 14. “I just want to thank the Furthering fathering Corporation – Mr. Jones and Mr. Maynard. They have provided some great workshops for the men in Roosevelt. We want to thank them for taking the time. Every 4th Saturday they come here [to do workshops at the Roosevelt Public Library].
“We had a big celebration that was supposed to take place on [June] 14th and it was interrupted by some fascists in the library that were opposed to it. I think that we need to understand, as voters and as people of color we must realize who we put in office and who we elect for these boards and chairmanships in our community. It affects us. That [Father’s Day Boys to Men] program should have happened [as scheduled]. We have high incarceration rates and father who have abandoned their families. We need that program to go on to talk about things we need to discuss as a family. It was a shame.”
David W. Denenberg, Nassau County Legislator, who is running for state senate, awarded the Mr. Taylor and Furthering Fathering with citations for exemplary community service
He eloquently addressed the dads in attendance and wished them a belated Father’s Day. Next Mr. Denenberg shared some poignant points. “We are always told that we have to get ready for society and understand your responsibilities…as a father. Yes, we must do something about broken families; however, it is not just a question about whether we are ready for society but also about whether society is ready for us…but what kind of person do we want society to be ready for? It is a person you can respect”
“People like Mr. Jones, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Maynard – they are taking responsibility. I love these gentlemen”. He then quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy – we are in those times now. Let’s stand strong. Let us stand together”
The Town of Hempstead also honored Alfred Taylor and Furthering Fathering. Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby presented the honor. She also ensured that the pictures taken were sent to those in attendance. She spoke of programs for homes in foreclosure and that Habitat for Humanity is building new homes. She was brief as she had to attend to a funeral.
One of the highlights of the morning was a spoken word poem The Men’s Apology – Man I’m Sorry ministered by Pastor Pepper Bonet Martin, C.E.O. of W.I.F.E. Ministries (Women Intended For Excellence) and author of I’m Married but I Feel Like I’m Single – a book based in her own experience that shows how to get out of a negative relationship based in biblical principles and convert their life through forgiveness. The poem, however, was a powerful apology from women for intentionally hurting men because of “tragedy in their past”.
“A lot of men are becoming equally wounded by their wounded women. In the 60s, 70s and even the 80s we did not have the issue of women missing from homes. I am hearing children looking for their mothers and men crying in secret. We have to break this cycle...”, Pastor Martin said before her powerful poem.
Lamont Jones made it clear that the relationship with dad and child has a direct bearing on our nation’s and our world’s quality of life. He gave the statistic:
40% of our kids go home without a dad at home
85% of dropouts had no dad at home
60% of rape cases involve a perpetrator with no father at home
70% of teen pregnancy – no dad at home
He added, "We need to work with women so dad can stay involved whether he is there or not Children hurt and suffer. When that home suffers, the community suffers. When the Boys to Men Program was shut down – no we are going to say delayed – how can we give our young men a positive image if we have programs like this delayed? They will be able to come out to a free function to elevate them and give them hope. I mentor many. So, to the men here, when you get your situation in your home correct, look over the fence. Play catch with that little boy that does not have anyone to throw the ball to. Tell the little girl looking out the window that she is beautiful. Do not let another dude with wicked ideas to validate her sexuality."
Alfred Taylor, Trustee of the Roosevelt Union Free School District and the first African American supervisor in Sanitation in Roosevelt with his father present was humbled to receive the honor. He urged those in attendance to learn the history of Roosevelt to be effective citizens.
The best is yet to come for Roosevelt as dads get more involved