Black fatherhood honored during West Side Fatherhood Initiative Parade

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This is Father's Day weekend, one group is celebrating all that dads do with a first of its kind parade.

With the community's help, United States congressman Danny Davis honored fatherhood.

"Black lives do matter. Black manhood does matter," Davis said.

The first ever Fatherhood Initiative Parade rolled down Kedzie and Fifth Avenue through this West Side neighborhood located in 7th District Davis represents.

The Saturday afternoon celebration honored more than 250 fathers. The men were all nominated by community members, family and friends.

ABC7 Eyewitness News photojournalist Derrick Robinson accepted the award with his daughter.

"It feels great. For this to work, it starts with the father in the community," Robinson said.

Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief Ernest Cato was also recognized.

"It's great to be a father to actually come out here and be acknowledged by the congressman and our community is huge," Cato said.

The proud dads received Father's Congressional Certificated along with a gift bag packed with face masks, sanitizer and other items.

This year's recognition comes over the Juneteenth weekend and hopes to reinforce the message that Black fathers matter.

"Father are that initial male role model in our lives. They help to teach us how to be men," Raynell Vaughn, one of the co-organizers said.

"This is our time to lead right now," Christian Byrd said. "This is not our time to put our heads down."

The event also promoted the 2020 Census and voter registration.

Supporters of this event say it's incredibly important not only just to acknowledge to contributions of fathers in the Black community, but also change the perceptions and narratives of black men and their families.
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