My name is Jermaine and I’m the father of two; my 12 year-old daughter and my 5 year-old son. My marriage to their mother is important to me because I find parenting requires a certain balance and teamwork that’s not always gender specific. Each of us holds the ingredients to our children’s success.
As it relates to me, the events that followed the death of Freddie Gray and the efforts of the 300 Men March against violence provide a platform to look at both issues, but it’s the anti-violence part that really touches me because I grew up surrounded by violence in Baltimore. That violence never hit home until it claimed my two younger brothers, who were murdered three years apart in Baltimore City. We’re on the corner of Park Heights and Cold Spring which is even more symbolic, because it’s the neighborhood my brothers and I grew up in.
I don’t live in the city anymore, but when we visit my daughter, in particular, is curious about the difference between the suburbs and the city. Our trips to Baltimore allow me to explain the importance of the company they keep, and people they associate with. No matter where you live, it’s important to always treat people with respect and to not be neighborhood or socioeconomic-centric. Most of all our visits prevent them from being naïve about what’s happening in the world beyond our neighborhood. I never want my kids to think living outside of the City of Baltimore makes them better than others, or to lead them to imagine other people don’t exist.
When I look at the closure of libraries and recreational centers, I realize it increases the number of unattended and misdirected kids on the city’s streets. So I plan on being part of the solution by engaging those youth impacted. We could live in a house on the hill, with no neighbors for miles, but we can never lose site of what we can do for the kids who may go hungry at night and struggle every day in the cities we come from.
As a father I want my children to see themselves, value, and humanity in the lives others.
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