BLACK FATHERSCommunity SpotlightsREAL TALK From AJ Woodson

FBI – Fathers Being Involved Dinner at Mount Vernon’s Graham Elem. School

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If you watch television, read the newspaper or pay attention to the mainstream media outlets, they will tell you and show you the statistics of the absent black father from the family. While we can not deny, there are far too many fathers, Black, Latino, White etc., who are absent from their child’s life, the media never shows you or tells the story of the large number of black men who are more than baby daddy’s, but actual are very involved in the raising of their children.

The media would have you believe all or most Black Fathers are dead or in jail or just simply refuse to raise their children. Well someone forgot to tell the close to 100 or so Fathers who attended the FBI – Fathers Being Involved Dinner that took place in Mount Vernon’s Graham Elementary/ Middle School, Tuesday night. When I walked through the doors of the auditorium, it warmed my heart to see a room full of Fathers, mostly Black Fathers sitting and engaging with their children.

Just standing in the room reminded me why Damon and myself started Black Westchester Magazine to change the narrative of how the media portrays us as a people. I did not know about the event until shortly before it began and simply  went there to take pictures of both Councilman André Wallace and BW’s Damon. K. Jones, who were asked to speak. 30 seconds after entering the school I knew I had to use this opportunity to help dispel the myth of the absent black father, we read about and see in movies and television. I had to use this as a teaching moment to help tell the Untold Story of Black Fatherhood.

You hear a lot about the City of Mount Vernon in the news, but the story of black fathers holding it down for their families is not one of the stories they report. News 12, The Journal News, Fios1, ABC, NBC, CBS and many other mainstream media outlets will always be there to report the news in black communities like Mount Vernon if it bleeds, it leads. There is no denying there is far too much for them to report when it comes to the City of Mount Vernon, like the senseless gun violence plaguing the community and the ongoing fighting among our elected officials. Even the Mount Vernon Inquirer who traditional reports many of the positive events in Mt. Vernon, even there you won’t read about this in their monthly newspaper or on their website.

That’s why independent Black media outlets like Black Westchester are important to tell these stories. And with all the negative news, it’s my pleasure to write this editorial. The presence of positive male role models in our children’s lives are so important. To give young black boys an example of what it is to be a man and show our your black girls what real men look like. I have often said while my dad was always active in my life it was other men who also influenced me and helped me get back on the right path when I was a young rebel without a pause or a cause, that is the reason I am not dead or in jail today to tell these stories.

Damon Jones told those in attendance of how he was a child of a single mom, because his father died when he was very young. He went on to share how she worked for IBM and always had positive male role models present in his life. It was seeing these positive Black Men in suits and good jobs who worked hard that helped shape him to the man he is today and it explains his loves for suits.

I won’t dare try to make up some statistics to show 85% or so Black fathers are in their children lives to sell the story or make some point, but last night is proof that like my friend Kenny Carter’s organizations F.A.I.T.H., there are many Fathers Alive In The Hood. Not just alive but present and raising their children. Fathers, Step-Fathers, Uncles, Coaches, Teachers and sometime Preachers who take the time not just to raise their children, but to be that positive role model in other children’s lives, like in Damon’s case, it is so important.

I saw many familiar faces like William Crockett of the Pit Brother’s BBQ Restaurant (159 E 3rd Street) there with his child, but I was even more please to see and meet many brothers I didn’t know. The real dads, the unsung heroes who are busy taking care of their families that you do not see. Just because you do not see them does not mean they do not exist. They do exist. They were there Tuesday night. I didn’t want to disturb the flow or vibe of the event by taking too many pictures or even interrupting conversations between father and child for a story, but just enjoyed being a fly on the wall and felt the need to tell the Untold Story of Black Fatherhood.

We celebrate all Father Being Involved with their children and reject the racist myth of the absent black father. They do exist, but so many more are handling their business and go unmentioned. FBI is this month’s BW Community Spotlight!

BW salutes and celebrates all the FBIs – Fathers Being Involved and organizations like F.A.I.T.H. Contrary to popular belief and mainstream media, they do exist and are teaching their young boys to be men and showing them how to be a father. While almost any man can father a child, there are many who are fathers to their child, that play the important role of being dad in their child or a child’s life. Not all heroes wear capes! REAL TALK!

AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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Curtis Lawrence October 27, 2016 at 2:02 PM

I was in attendance, and I must say I too was in awe at what I saw Tuesday.. I’m so very proud that I was part of such a powerful moment

Sonia A Teague October 27, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Is Fathers Being Involved an organization? I am from the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center. I work as a Community health Worker Supervisor. Our program helps to promote optimal health status among high-risk pregnant and parenting families by providing outreach, one-on-one education, referral and follow up, advocacy, case management and home visiting, with aim of improving the family’s self-reliance. The Community Health Worker’s Program is family centered program that recognizes and promotes family responsibility of fathers. Would like to be apart of Fathers Being Involved.


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