A documentary released in August 2014 titled “72 Percent” addresses one of the issues that still plagues black families: Black Community Single Parent Epidemic. It’s been discovered that roughly 72 percent of black children are raised by unwed single mothers.
On Saturday, March 17th, I attended a forum in Pompano Beach hosted by Florida Family Policy Council and Douglass Leadership Institute. Reverend Nelson, president and CEO of the Douglass Institute, served as moderator. The event featured Catherine Davis, founder and president of the Restoration Project, Ariana Reid, of Hope Women’s Centers, and John Stemberger, president of The Florida Family Policy Council.
All three speakers addressed the role of the black church in strengthening black families and the challenges children face when they are raised in a single parent household. In addition, all the speakers shared with everyone in attendance what their organization is doing to sustain the black family.
Reverend Nelson shared how statistics show that today fewer black children are likely to be raised by both parents than they were during slavery. During one part of the discussion, Nelson provided a quote by the Late Frederick Douglas: “Easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Nelson mentioned how during the 1930s and 40s there was heavy involvement of government in black communities. He also referenced how 100,000 workers were paid to go into black neighborhoods and tell them that they needed to get on government assistance. Yet, God’s design was never intended for black communities to rely on what the government was providing.
John Stemberger informed everyone how discrimination has been present since the 1960s. Now, our pastors and church leaders need to be on guard concerning the topic of gender identity and preference. The state now has its own definition for the institution of marriage, he explained. “You cant build civilization without marital structure. The most important form of government is the family,” stated Stemberger.
He also touched on the fact that every year marriage is declining but co-habitation is on the rise. Marriage is the great poverty killer. At the same time, the institution of marriage channels masculine energy into socially productive ways.
Catherine Davis, president of Restoration Project talked about her passion to end abortion and the importance of education for pastors wives. She believes that abortion has devasted our black communities by design. “Abortion has never been about choice but controlling the black birth rate” stated Davis. She encouraged everyone in attendance that it’s important to understand the forces that fight against our black family.
Lastly, Hope Women’s Centers representative Ariana Reed touched on how vital it is to equip both men and women with information on abortion. Reed talked about how the center makes a diligent effort to have both mothers and fathers come to the center and speak with staff members. “Being strategic in the centers’ approach through having both separate conversations with women and men and having a male advocate who can speak into these men’s lives has brought about many changes.” It’s enabled the center to have discussions about employment with men and being both a provider and husband, stated Ariana.
Attorney John Stemberger discussed cultural indicators to affirm positive behavior in the culture:
1.When both parents are present, there is less promiscuity, juvenile crime and acting out in school.
2.Frequent church attendance. Family and Church are key success tools for our culture.
3.Church can be open to having conversation about abortion.
Churches that are fully equipped with resources to strengthen black families can help to rebuild the household. The Bible outlines the family structure. Children need both parents, and the role of the father is vital to a child’s development.
Continuing to launch more outreach through various community-based organizations is essential. This enables families to be informed of resources strictly designed to rebuild the black family household as God created.
Tyrone Hall is a freelance writer who can be reached at TyroneHall87@gmail.com.
*Pictured ( left to right ): Rev. Dean Nelson, Board Chair for Douglas Leadership Institute; Ariana Reid, VP Client Services-North for Hope Women’s Centers; Catherine Davis, President of The Restoration Project; and John Stemberger, President of Florida Family Policy Council & Commissioner for Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission