Father’s highlighted on first day of school

Louis LaVenture,

Fathers took center stage on the first day of school throughout the Hayward Unified School District last Thursday.

In collaboration with the Black Star Project, HUSD teamed up to encourage fathers and men to participate in the 2016 version of the “Million Father March,” with a special event at Longwood Elementary School in North Hayward that featured speakers and messages about the importance of men’s involvement in children’s education.

The purpose of the event was to encourage all men and fathers around the country to take their children or relatives to school and be involved with their education, in hopes of having one million fathers participate nationwide. “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,” HUSD media contact Sabrina Aranda said. “Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk with them regularly and are active in their lives.”

The event took place in almost 600 cities across the country and was expected to have one million men participate, not including women and children, which, if included, puts that total well over the million mark. These numbers were up from one million men, women and children who participated in 2014 in 525 cities, according to the HUSD.

The special event at Longwood explained the purpose of the march and elaborated on the importance of male involvement in their children’s education and lives.

“I did it last year too, it’s cool to see all the dad’s come together,” parent Samuel Navarez said. “I didn’t have a dad so I made sure I was going to be in my kids’ lives every day. I bring my kids to school every day but it’s cool to know it means a lot.”

According to Black Star Project coordinator D. Israel, the event was based on the original Million Man March in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 16, 1995. The original march was organized by Louis Farrakhan, an American religious leader, and was supposed to showcase the positive impact of African American men, something that Farrakhan felt was being lied about by the media.