Miami-Dade and Broward counties have scheduled events for the annual Million Father March when males are asked to take their children to school on the first day of classes.
Schools open on Monday, Aug. 23, and the Urban League of Greater Miami has scheduled a march to coincide with the observance.
In Broward County, the activities are being coordinated by Broward County Public Schools and will involve several organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County, 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Westside Gazette, the Urban League, the International Longshoremen’s Association and Broward Health and Friends of Children.
“On the first day of classes last year, more than 3,875 fathers and men who care for and about children took the time to accompany our students to school for the all-important start of the new school year,” Broward Schools Superintendent James F. Notter said in a statement.
“We hope to increase that number once again this year,” Notter said.
Notter will join School Board member Benjamin J. Williams and Bernie Kemp, president of the Broward Countil of PTA for an event to mark the march. It will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at Park Lakes Elementary School, 3925 State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes as part of the superintendent’s first day of school visits.
In Miami-Dade, T. Willard Fair, president/CEO of The Urban League of Greater Miami, said the event provides “an opportunity for us as men to stand up and be counted.”
He said there could be no greater example of caring than for a male to take his child to school and pick the child up at the end of classes, even if only on the first day.
But he added that research has shown that when men are involved in the lives of their children, regardless of the relationship between the father and the mother, the child does better and the community is better.
“Everyday we watch the news and see a child is shot , the police come and there is moaning and crying by the women but the men are absent,” Fair said.”
Hassan Shabazz, the league’s community engagement specialist, heads the planning for the event which he said is now in its sixth year. He has secured the support of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, he said.
Chicago-based The Black Star Project manages the initiative nationally with sponsorship from the Schott Foundation for Public Information, in partnership with the National Fatherhood Intiative and the Urban League of Greater Miami.
According to the league statement, an estimated 625,000 men in 500 cities took part in the march in 2009 and an estimated 700,000 men in 600 cities are expected to do so this year.
“Education has become a matter of national security,” Phillips Jackson, executive director of The Black Star Project, said in a statement. “Because we cannot control our schools, we cannot control out economy. And because we cannot control our economy, we cannot control and protect our quality of life in America.”