INCARCERATED YOUTHS SPEAK OUT AT 2016 INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY OBSERVANCE
In 2012, the USA International Men’s Day Team moved Incarcerated Men and Youths into the International Men’s Day equation through the creation and implementation of the International Men’s Day Healing and Repatriation Initiative. On Saturday, 19 November 2016 — incarcerated youths at New York’s Adirondack Correctional Facility joined individuals, organizations, and institutions in 81 nations in observing 2016 International Men’s Day. Under the leadership of Mr. Carry Greaves, a mentor, poet, Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, and Chair of the International Men’s Day Healing and Repatriation Initiative, a group of youths incarcerated at the Adirondack Correctional Facility utilized 2016 International Men’s Day to speak out about, among other things, why many youths in our schools and in our communities are so angry.
Mr. Greaves, Chair of the International Men’s Day Healing and Repatriation Initiative, launched the observance by asking each of the incarcerated youths to give one or two positive words. The group offered the following:
• Peace and Love
• Family Unity
• Making it home to my family
• No violence
After explaining the importance of International Men’s Day and why it should be celebrated each year, talked to the group about making a pledge to work to positively transform themselves and their communities. He went on to say: “Once we make a pledge, we cannot break it.”
When the youths were asked: “Why does it seem that so many youths today are so angry?”, they utilized the opportunity to speak out against Fatherlessness, lack of parenting, and being taught not to express their emotions.
Mr. Greaves gives the following account:
“One individual blamed his Father. He told us that his Father was never in his life and he is holding a grudge against him for that. I explained to him that in order for him to grow spiritually he will have to let go because he has a three-month old and he will not be able to properly raise him if he continues to carry anger inside of himself. A number of other individuals blamed their family for not being parents. These individuals believed that their parents acted more like their friends and not as their parents. Other individuals in the group blamed rap music for promoting a fake tough image. They also expressed their belief that many young men were taught to not express their feelings so they keep their feelings ‘bottled up’ until they explode. We spoke about the need for a strong family structure, the need for the violence to stop in our communities, and the need to have community forums about police killings. Out of the group of young men, only one had a GED. However, the other young men made a pledge to go to school and get their GED. I told them that I will be on them if I catch them slipping. What I see is that these individuals never had the proper guidance or someone they can talk to. One of the young men told me that I was like the Father that he never had. These young men are so angry and in pain. I could see it in their eyes. At the end of the discussion, I asked each individual to read an article published in the September 2016 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, ‘Letter To A Fatherless Daughter’. I told them that whenever they came across the word ‘her’ and ‘daughter’ in the essay, they could replace these words with ‘him’ or
‘son’. The young men loved the essay. I believed the young men enjoyed the discussion. Since that day, they come to me and want to sit down and have more discussions like the discussion they participated in on International Men’s Day. I gave each of them a hug, words of encouragement, and told them to always be prepared because I have a tendency to show up when they will least expect it’.”