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Last Friday, Father’s Incorporated had a dinner in Harlem to kick off the Year Of Responsible Men in partnership with the White House. Executive Director, Kenneth Braswell hosted the event and he spoke about his idea to use blue bowties to symbolize the crisis of fatherhood in America just as pink ribbons have come to symbolize the crisis of breast cancer. He also detailed the hard work that went into establishing all the partners and sponsors for the Year Of Responsible Men.

Dr. Jeff Gardere, the host VH-1’s “Dad Camp” gave humorous yet poignant anecdotes from his time working on “The Maury Show,” “Dad Camp” and his own private practice working with poor families in Washington Heights. Gardere noted that a great deal of moms would bring in their sons, and that most of their issues came from lack of a father figure.

Gardere also gave stories about his own role as a single father, in which he showed that it is possible for parents to break up and still raise their children.

Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Joshua DuBois brought regards from President Obama and his word that Obama is dedicated to stop the “crisis” of lack of fatherhood in our country.

DuBois also brought up both his own personal history and the history of the President as motivating factors for the White House’s involvement with Braswell’s fatherhood initiative.

DuBois brought up Obama’s well known story of dealing with the lack of father in his life, noting that the President does not schedule any meetings after 7 P.M. in order to spend time with his daughters.

DuBois praised his stepfather as being a man who was always involved in his life but noted that he had little contact with his biological father, who wound up dying in prison.

DuBois also spoke about White House initiatives to get young fathers involved in their childrens lives, including jobs and tax breaks. DuBois is a very strong engaging speaker who should have a bright future as being one of the future leaders of America.

The majority of the people involved came from the Black church which has always been a strong force pushing for Black fathers. I would have been nice to see more people in the entertainment or athletics, who have a chance to speak directly to young fathers, or young men without fathers, but it seems like Braswell is reaching in that direction through his efforts.

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