The event is in collaboration with HUD’s Fatherhood Initiative and will be held June 16 from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the New Student Center on campus. It will include a free continental breakfast and panel discussions will feature three to five experts. Maurice Jones, deputy secretary for HUD and the former publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, is the keynote speaker.
“We recognize that the irregularities of fatherhood in our communities are not an isolated problem but a challenge that reaches across all ethnic and socioeconomic lines,” said Deirdre W. Sanderlin, director of the Women’s Economic Development Center at NSU. “This event promises to be an engaging thought provoking forum that will provide meaningful information that will produce healthier relationships in the family structure.
Headlines and statistics examine the impact absent fathers have on their daughters. Less than one third of all black children live in a two-parent household, according to a recent report from the nonprofit group Child Trends. The rest are more likely to be born to single mothers under 30.
But documentary film maker Janks Morton decided to peek into the statistics and headlines. Following the lives of eight fatherless girls, he set out to look at the whole family. During Morton’s 20-year entertainment career, he also produced What Black Men Think, which aimed to peek inside the heads of black men.
“Too often we focus on the statistics involved in absentee fatherhood and forget to analyze the daily turmoil faced when fathers are not present,” said Morton who won several national awards for What Black Men Think. His latest film, Dear Daddy follows the lives of eight young women who manage the challenging streets of Washington, D.C. They struggle to overcome poverty, poor educational systems, no healthcare, and the most difficult life circumstance they have been dealt … the absence of their fathers.
In the movie trailer, one of the main characters articulates the anger and frustration many young fatherless girls feel. “I hate the simple fact that you left me and I had no one to talk to when I couldn’t go to my mother,” said actress Jasmine Bowden. “I hate the simple fact that you wasn’t there when I had my first heartbreak and it hurts me when I don’t have a father to go to when I have a problem.”
Some of the characters go to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Washington, D.C., said Morton who has been married twice and had a child before he was married the first time.
“I think that part of the problem is that you develop these kind of, I call them symptoms – the fatherless woman syndrome – you develop these handicaps based on the absence of your father,” Morton said. “So you don’t believe that you’re lovable or worthy of love. You suffered the triple fear factor – fear of rejection, fear of commitment, fear of abandonment.
“You actually get involved with sexual activity because you’re looking for someone to love you,” he continued. “You have rage, anger and depression issues, and then you overcompensate, either using drugs, using work. And so these things come out in your life in ways that, kind of, alienates you in relationships.”
The upcoming NSU event will sponsor workshops that examine many of the issues Morton’s film examines. There will a workshop for fathers, as well as one for young fathers who do not yet have children. There will be a workshop for mothers, as well as one for fathers and daughters. About 250-300 visitors are expected to attend. So far 96 participants have registered.
Register at http://daddysgirls.eventbrite.com