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Men and fathers come take the pledge

James W. Wade III | 5/21/2014, 10:55 a.m.

National League of Cities and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials will administer a Father’s Day Pledge on Saturday, June 14 starting at noon at Cleveland City Hall, located at 601 Lakeside Ave.

On this day, fathers and men around the nation are invited to come and take the pledge to end violence in homes and the community. Leading the charge is Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed from Cleveland, Councilman Thomas West from Canton, Ohio and Russel Neal from Akron. “We know father make a positive difference in families and we are asking all men to come out and be part of this to bring peace back into our homes,” said Reed.

The organization, on Reed’s urging, drafted a resolution adopted last year by the National League of Cities identifying homicide as the leading cause of death for Black men between the ages of 15 and 24 and calling on the national Centers for Disease Control to treat the issue as a public health epidemic.

In the phone interview, Reed said, “This is a great time that, on the heels of President Barack Obama’s launch of My Brother’s Keeper which is an initiative to identify and support programs that steer young Black men and boys toward productive lives, the timing has never been better to unite against violence in the Black community.”

Sharing the number of homicides in Cleveland, Reed talked about how important this rally is for the city of Cleveland as well as the nation. “We want fathers to step up. We want men to step up. We know there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of violence in our community. And we know one very strong way of doing it is for fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives,” Reed said.

This pledge is for fathers and men to take a stand and speak out against domestic violence, violence in the community, child abuse and safety in their communities. The pledge was created in 2010 by New York Council Member Julissa Ferreras and CONNECTS a group that advocates for safe families and peaceful communities. Men who participate are also promoting growth and healing within the community as well as in the home.

“It has happen to somebody I knew, and it wasn’t a pretty thing to watch to see this violence against another young man on my street during the day. I am sure if they are not afraid to kill each other and have no fear of police, they will not take time out for the pledge. I am hoping most of these young men step up and realize they need to be men. I’m not proud of how they acted, but I want to highlight that this is the way we (men) are expected to be, leading our families. Beating up someone who committed violence against women would only contribute to the cycle of violence, rather than prevent it,” said Reed.

“Violence against Women is not a women’s issue. Men are also part of the community. Men have family members they want to keep safe, while also being role models for their family’s younger generations,” said Jeanetta Price, executive director for Union Miles Development Corporation.

Councilman Kevin Conwell is helping Reed to get men and fathers to meet them at Cleveland City Hall. “We are asking for the help of every male out there to come be part of a day where we will pledge to make a difference in our house and community, real men real fathers are something I believe in,” said Conwell.

For more information call Zack Reed at (216) 664-4945 or Kevin Conwell at (216) 791-6642.