Action Alert: Respond to Associated Press Piece on Obama/Father’s Day Rally

The Associated Press piece Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood woes: Obama seen as key figure in campaign to promote responsible dads (5/5/09) appeared in hundreds of papers this week:

With a centennial celebration of Father’s Day coming next month, and a new president committed to supporting better parenting, liberals and conservatives alike say the political stars may be aligned for major progress in promoting responsible fatherhood…
Numerous events are planned around Father’s Day – ranging from policy symposiums to a National Rally for Responsible Fatherhood at the Lincoln Memorial. Obama, raised in the absence of his own father, has been invited to the rally and is expected to mark the day with an appeal for men to be more involved in their children’s lives. Other rallies will be held nationwide, said a lead organizer, Jeffery Johnson of the National Partnership for Community Leadership. “We want a million men to make a commitment to be the best dads they can”… Obama already has demonstrated his interest in fatherhood issues in multiple ways. He is a past cosponsor of an ambitious fatherhood bill that two Democrats, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois, plan to reintroduce in conjunction with Father’s Day. Many of its provisions are aimed at removing barriers that deter noncustodial fathers from providing financial support to their children.

I salute the commitment to fatherhood evidenced by Jeffery Johnson and the other organizers of the 2009 National Rally for Responsible Fatherhood, and I salute Obama for his involvement. However, there’s an obvious omission both in the rally and the article: many fathers, including African-American dads, are not able to play a meaningful role in their children’s lives because of the children’s mothers’ interference and the indifference and/or hostility of the family law system. We want you to write Letters to the Editor of the major papers which printed this article, pointing out the elephant in the room–we blame fatherlessness exclusively on fathers, but many fathers are not allowed to be a part of their kids’ lives. The email addresses are below–please write your letters with an eye to getting them published by keeping them under 250 words, respectful and to the point. Re: the “ambitious fatherhood bill” mentioned in the article, the bill does have some good points, but it has real problems, too. To learn more, see my co-authored column Obama’s Responsible Fatherhood Bill–Not Enough Carrot, Too Much Stick (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/30/07). Read the full Associated Press piece here. Where to Write Obama’s presidency puts fatherhood in a new focus Philadelphia Inquirer – ?May 6, 2009? write to Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood problems Sacramento Bee – ?May 5, 2009? write to Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood problems San Francisco Chronicle – ?May 5, 2009? click on With Obama at forefront, backers of fatherhood initiatives see… Minneapolis Star Tribune – ?May 5, 2009 write to ?Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood problems Miami Herald – ?May 5, 2009? write to Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood problems Houston Chronicle – ?May 5, 2009? write to Hopes rise for progress on fatherhood problems San Jose Mercury News – ?May 5, 2009? write to

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