Fathering together's inclusivity statement

At Fathering Together, we believe that becoming a parent is the greatest responsibility you'll ever have. Every father must accept the challenge to be better than they ever thought they could be. As an organization, we take this challenge seriously and strive to model what is "better than we ever thought we could" by creating equity and inclusivity in our virtual and in-person communities, educational programs, and, ultimately, our global impact.

  • Our definition of fatherhood is an inclusive one. We recognize that cis-gendered, nonbinary people and those on the LGBTQ+ spectrum may be fathers. We further acknowledge that many family members, such as grandparents, uncles, cousins, and siblings, may participate in fathering. We invite all individuals who identify as fathers into our communities and to participate in our programs.

  • We commit to fostering an environment where all individuals, regardless of racial, gender, religious, ethnic, national identity, citizenship status, ability, or sexual orientation, feel welcome and safe to be who they are across all Fathering Together's initiatives. We welcome ideas about how we can continue improving our spaces' inclusivity.

  • 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 on 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 world to create an equitable world for all.

  • We are here to teach and to learn. We acknowledge that many organizations do work that 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, that work inspires our work, and we strive to be in partnership with the organizations and individuals leading that work. Fathers can be integral to solving 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. Suppose fathers and men are not a part of these conversations. In that case, 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 then-Executive Director Brian Anderson held an hour-long conversation with our Dads with Daughters community members to contextualize the protests for our children. Then, Dr. Chatters moderated a panel to encourage White Parents to speak with their kids about racial equity, and another panel, moderated by member Dedan Bruner, focused on the importance of cross-racial friendships. Finally, Fathering Together launched Dads for Racial Equity so that members could continue the conversation and deconstruct the complex topic.

Concurrently, in the summer of 2020, with the sexist attacks on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, our then-Executive Director Brian Anderson reached out to members, asking them to raise their voices through the creation of #StandUpDads. This program encourages dads to challenge one another to speak up when men assault women 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 Equity," members could also deconstruct this complex topic.

When Fathering Together launched these initiatives, a global pandemic was complicating everyone's life. With the pandemic behind us, these social issues remain and will continue unless we acknowledge our role in their creation and work with all those impacted by these issues to solve them.

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, babas, and non-binary adult caregivers in all our communications. 

  • Ensuring diverse representation on our board, advisory councils, and staff.

  • Challenging the notion that men (and dads) know everything already, but instead, accepting we know relatively little. We must constantly strive to be open-minded to the experiences of our children and others in our lives to allow all of us to live fuller, more authentic, and more equitable lives.

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