This past Friday, the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Department of Commerce co-hosted a regional fatherhood forum in Oakland, CA. This forum was a continuation of the Administration’s commitment to engage this critical issue through regional meetings that contribute to a national conversation on responsible fatherhood.
In the afternoon, we convened a meeting with Bay Area social service experts, community organizations and faith leaders whose work impacts fatherhood in the region. The focus of the discussion was to promote responsible fatherhood by strengthening the economic position of dads in the marketplace and empowering communities to actively engage issues impacting father participation. Discussion topics included:
Through this conversation, we learned from the best in the field about how responsible fatherhood can lead to the stabilization of families and local economies.
In the evening, at a public community forum Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke along with three other dads shared their personal stories related to fatherhood. Sec. Locke said “Being a father is hard. It takes sacrifice. It takes responsibility. And it takes giving your needs a backseat to those of your child.” Secretary Locke also talked about the Commerce Department’s role in creating jobs for all who want work which includes fathers who wish to provide financial stability for their families. Locke also encouraged all the dads in the room to be role models for their children. “Perhaps the most important aspect of being a father is probably the most difficult. You've got to be a good role model. Sometimes, it's easy to tell your child what to do. It's a lot tougher to show them how they need to do it.”
Cedric Grant is Director for the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Parnterships at the Department of Commerce