Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fathers taking Responsibility

On Sunday, Father's Day, Barack Obama spoke at a prominent African-American church on Chicago's Southside about the need for African-American fathers to take responsibility. Mr. Obama has spoken about this need before, he himself is the son of an absent father and he even admitted that he was not a perfect father either with all the chaos and stress that running for president brings to a family. However, Mr. Obama touched on a sore spot in the African-American community that has long been untouched. You can read more about the sermon here.

It is very true that the majority of our students are the product of single parent homes. While many of our children come from wonderful families with hard-working and loving mothers, grandmothers, and Aunts, there seems to be a recurrent need especially amongst our young men for a father figure. Many of our male mentors have fulfilled this role beautifully and we couldn't be more grateful for that. However, when Rogers Hemphill, the father of two of our students, Angelene and Whitney Hemphill spoke at our Year-End Dinner, I was stuck by how we could use many more fathers like Rogers. His speech about being the father of two Cabrini Connections students and himself being a life-long resident of Cabrini-Green was the most powerful part of a very emotional and joyous celebration capping the end of the year.

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