19 August 2011
738 U.S. cities have signed on to the Million Father March 2011, the largest back-to-school initiative in United States' history
By Phillip Jackson Chicago - An army of more than one million American men are taking to the streets this year in one of the most important battles that America has ever fought. And that is the battle for the hearts, minds and spirits of American children. These men will include janitors, lawyers, doctors, technicians, factory workers, bankers, bus drivers, construction workers, policemen and trash collectors. The 2011 Million Father March will also include retired men, previously incarcerated men and unemployed men. They all have one thing in common -- on the first back-to-school day in cities across America, they are taking their children to school.
A record 738 cities will participate in the 2011 Million Father March. Last year, more than 800,000 men in 609 cities across America and around the world took children to school on the first day. “Education has become a matter of national security. If we cannot control our schools, then we cannot control our economy. And if we cannot control our economy, then we cannot control and protect our quality of life in America,” says Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of The Black Star Project, U.S.A.
Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk with them regularly and are active in their lives. A good father is part of a good parent team and is critical to creating a strong family structure. Strong family structures produce children who are more academically proficient, socially developed and self-assured. Such children become adults who are valuable assets to their communities.
March participants will include fathers, grandfathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers, significant male caregivers and family friends. Women and men of all ethnicities are also encouraged to take their children to school on their first day. Businesses are asked to give fathers and other men two hours off work the morning of the first day of school to take their children to school. Religious leaders (pastors, imams, priests, rabbis, ministers, bishops, elders) and faith-based institutions (churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples) are being asked to adopt a neighborhood school and to partner with and support that school throughout the school year.
This year, we are asking fathers and other men to volunteer 10 hours of service to their children's school for a total of 10 million hours of service by the end of the school year. We also ask fathers and other men pledge to support children throughout the year. The pledge calls for and outlines a year-long commitment to their children and to the schools they attend. The pledge includes participating in school activities for the benefit of the children, their family and in the community.
Additionally, in Chicago, which is ground zero for youth violence in America, 650 faith leaders are being recruited to be at 650 schools on the first day of school to welcome students back and to create a circle of safety around the students on the first day. Additionally, at 9:00 a.m., these 650 faith leaders will pray for a safe and successful school year for all students and staff at these schools.
And finally, at every high school in America, alumni are being asked to return to their alma mater on the first day of school to welcome students back to their campus and to encourage them to have a successful and productive school year. They will also be asked to sign up as volunteers to help create and maintain better schools.
For any city that has already started school, Tuesday, September 6, 2011 is the Million Father March's National Fathers Take Your Children to School Day. The 2011 Million Father March is managed by The Black Star Project, U.S.A., and sponsored by the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement. Please visit our website at www.blackstarproject.org to bring the 2011 Million Father March to your city or for more information about the March. You may also email email@example.com or call 773.285.9600 for more information or to register for the March.