Organisers of Culturefest have joined forces with a social action group to stage a symbolic walk for fathers and sons on Heroes Day, the day after Fathers Day.
Jay-Jua Tucker hopes to raise awareness of male absenteeism in the home with the ten-kilometre walk called Get Fathers Back into the Hood — Walk the Talk!
He said its an ideal way to promote fathers and men in their rightful position in the home and community around Fathers Day.
Im hoping it will lead to bringing men together as stand up fathers, theres too many men absent in our households and in society period, he said.
As a barber I see women every week with their sons, I seldom see fathers bringing their sons in for a haircut. It could be because of absence, it could also be because of feuding between the mother and the father.
But at the end of the day they need to put their differences aside and rise to the level of parenting and focus on the child. Dealing with the madness in the black community is a big social agenda and theres many issues, said Mr Tucker.
I had a father coming up but he was in and out of my life. When I wanted to look up to a male figure, it was an uncle or an older cousin, not my father. That had a major impact on me especially when I became a father myself.
I feel thats one of the reasons why Im so passionate about my children because I didnt have a father in the way I would have loved to.
Im asking all fathers to come out and spend some quality time with your children, your nephews and nieces. We are not discriminating against women, were just trying to put men in their rightful position, he said.
One supporter, Thomas Smith said he plans to walk because there are too many men around who are not active in their childrens lives.
Im here to support the cause for men taking a stand for leadership and being responsible, it all starts in the home. You have some fathers who take their children on weekends but you dont see too many men with primary care involvement especially with their boys.
I came up with both parents and Im glad I had that opportunity. I can say I had a father there so I saw what it was like to see a man interact with a woman in the home.
But sometimes a child has both parents but only one is actively involved, hands on. What disturbs me most as a young Christian is the lack of spiritual growth in children today, said Mr Smith.
Sunday school days are not what they used to be and I think that we need to go back to those kinds of principle-driven things that can build our children up with foundations of spiritually first. And as they grow they will have the foundation of how to govern themselves character-wise and all those things, he said.
John Jordan, another supporter, has been a widower for 26 years. My wife and son died in 1986 and I had to raise two girls by myself and so I gave them early church training.
Most families in Bermuda have a matriarch as head of the family with no father in the home and I think this is where we have our problems. This walk is for a very important cause.
When my girls were young I told them most guys around Bermuda just want them for sex and when a child comes along, once born, the fathers are nowhere to be found.
That was years ago and I dont think it has gotten any better in the black community today either. This walk is for a good cause and we have to start somewhere, Im on my way out and if this next generation doesnt get it theyre going to be on the outside looking in, he said.
Corvin Meloday another father of three plans to walk with his ten-year-old son. We have to walk the walk in order to overcome things. Ive been through some circumstances that prevented me from getting ahead but Im trying to move past that and move forward, he said.
In a small community like Bermuda theres a lot of concern and were looking to send a powerful message, he said.
Emmanuel Smith, 19, also plans to walk because he was raised by a single mother. I dont know what its like to have a father, I never had one so I dont know. All I know is that I had my mother and she did what she could, but I dont have the experience to tell you what I was missing because I never had a father in the first place.
To fathers who are absent in their childrens lives I want to say it's a terrible thing to do to a child to just put the mother of that child in a situation where she has to bring the child up on her own.
I think his absence changed me because if I had a child I would not do what my father did to me, I would be there for them, he said. I dont plan to walk in the walk on Monday, I plan to run.
The walk starts at 10am from the Rockaway Ferry Terminal on Monday, with starting points at Sandys 360 and Watford Bridge for those who dont want to walk that far. It all culminates with the Culturefest at Dockyard which starts at noon.