Fathering Together’s Inclusivity Statement
At Fathering Together, we believe that becoming a parent is the greatest responsibility you’ll ever have and everyday fathers must accept the challenge to being better than they ever thought they could. As an organization, we take this challenge seriously and strive to model what being “better than we ever thought we could” by creating equity and inclusivity in our online communities, educational content, and ultimately our impact in the world.
- Our definition of fatherhood is an inclusive one. We recognize that cisgendered, non-binary people, and those on the LGBTQ+ spectrum may be fathers. We further recognize that many family members may participate in fathering such as grandparents, uncles, cousins and siblings. We invite all individuals who identify as fathers into our communities and to participate in our programs.
- We commit to fostering an environment in which all individuals regardless of racial, gender, religious, ethnic and national identity, citizenship status, ability, or sexual orientation feel welcome and safe to be who they are across Fathering Together’s online communities, programming, and organizational structures. We welcome ideas about how we can continue to improve the inclusivity of our spaces.
- We recognize that in many cases, fathers sit atop a patriarchal system from which many of us benefit from unearned privileges. We know that patriarchy is interwoven with other systems which cause oppression to those with less social power. Therefore, we promote a model of fatherhood based in equity which allows us to combat many of the harmful norms of fatherhood and masculinity, thereby creating healthier families. We further recognize that we must work to dismantle oppressive systems in our homes and our world if we are to create an equitable world for all.
- We are here to teach and to learn. We acknowledge that there are many organizations who do work which aligns with our mission and vision as Fathering Together. Therefore we commit to working in partnership with women-led organizations and organizations serving marginalized communities, to understand the impact of current social oppressions and collaboratively work towards implementing systems that contribute to a more equitable world.
As an organization focused on fatherhood, our work is not at the expense of programs, resources, and funding dedicated to women, children, and people of color, but rather, our work is inspired by that work, and we strive to be in partnership with the organizations and individuals leading that work. Fathers can be integral to developing solutions to challenges many families and communities face. It is essential that fathers and men generally take part in conversations about gender inequity and challenges facing children. If fathers and men are not a part of these conversations, they will miss out on critical information needed to be true partners in dismantling systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, and ageism , among others.
In the summer of 2020, amid the protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black and Brown lives, the leadership at Fathering Together met and made our commitment to racial equity and dismantling interlocking systems of oppression explicit.
Founding Board Member, Dr. Lawrence Chatters, and Executive Director, Brian Anderson, held an hour-long conversation with members of our Dads with Daughters community to contextualize the protests for our children. This was followed by a panel to encourage White Parents to speak with their kids about racial equity and another panel focused on the importance of cross-racial friendships. Then, this fall, launching a “Dads for Racial Equity” group to work through the challenges of deconstructing this complex topic through basic education and common definitions.
Concurrently in the summer of 2020, with the sexist attacks on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, our Executive Director reached out to members asking them to raise their voices through the creation of #StandUpDads. This program encourages dads to challenge one another to not sit silently while women are assaulted and to explore the myriad ways in which sexism exists at home, at work, and in the community. With the creation of “Dads for Gender Equality,” members can learn common definitions and explore the complexity of gender in our societies.
While launching these initiatives is important, sustaining our work is the true challenge and including the voices of women, moms, and people of color is essential to holding all of us accountable to the work. We model this commitment as our Board President is a Black woman and our Board Vice President is a mother. As we move forward, Fathering Together is committed to building bridges across lines of difference and strengthening our members and our community’s capacity to take an active role in dismantling systems of oppression in part by being more communicative, emotionally intelligent, and socially aware.
Therefore, we commit to the following practices:
- Hosting programs and workshops to educate fathers on the gender imbalances of home life, work, and society as well as systemic racism and other challenges that keep patriarchal structures in place.
- Engaging fathers to recognize unconscious biases toward people of color and women.
- Adopting inclusive definitions of fatherhood to include fathers, dads, uncles, grandfathers, baba’s, and non-binary adult caregivers in all our communications.
- Ensuring diverse representation on our board, advisory councils, and staff. Currently, our nine-member board has two women and four people of color, but our advisory councils and staff and volunteers are heavily represented by white men.
- Challenging the notion that men (and dads) know everything already, but instead, acknowledging we know relatively little and must constantly strive to be open-minded to the experiences of our children and others in our lives, in order to allow all of us to live fuller, more authentic, and more equitable lives.