by Fathers Incorporated
The Million Fathers March is more than an event; it’s a transformative movement. It’s a collective rallying cry to fathers, father figures, and male role models across the country—and now, even around the world—to step forward and engage deeply in the education and lives of our children. As we prepare for the much-anticipated Million Fathers March on September 15, 2023, I couldn’t help but feel moved by its scope, scale, and significance. The numbers themselves are staggering. The latest count shows 175 registered schools and organizations from 32 states and 134 cities, including international participation from Uganda, Africa. An incredible 72,523 dads are expected to participate in this year’s event, reflecting an awe-inspiring level of commitment.
Kenneth Braswell, the CEO of Fathers Incorporated, encapsulates the spirit of the movement best when he says, “It’s not just about having dads show up at schools; it’s about having dads show up in the lives of their children. The Million Fathers March isn’t a moment; it’s a movement, one that helps to bring our focus back to what’s truly important—our children.”
This year’s theme, “The Power of Presence: Fathers Engaged in Education,” is an impactful phrase that gets to the heart of the matter. What does it mean to be present? In an age when our attention is pulled in a hundred different directions by gadgets, notifications, and a relentless news cycle, “presence” calls us back to the here and now. It’s not just physical presence but emotional, intellectual, and spiritual engagement in our children’s well-being and development.
The importance of this theme cannot be overstated. Children with involved fathers enjoy academic, social, and emotional benefits that extend well into adulthood. Fathers who are “present” help to foster a sense of security and well-being in their children. They provide not just love, but also the kind of support that bolsters a child’s confidence and equips them to face the world’s challenges.
A participating school principal from last year’s event spoke about their school’s involvement: “The Million Fathers March has brought a wave of positive change to our school environment. You can feel the heightened energy, the sense of community, and most importantly, the smiles on our children’s faces when they see their fathers engaged in their academic lives. This is not just a program; it’s a catalyst for sustained family engagement.”
Yet it’s not just the children who benefit. Fathers themselves experience a renewed sense of purpose, commitment, and connection through active participation in their children’s lives. One father, who was a part of last year’s march, shares, “Being a part of the Million Fathers March didn’t just change my child’s life; it changed mine. I began to see more clearly the undeniable impact of my presence in my child’s education. It’s invigorating, inspiring, and has created a ripple effect in all areas of my life.”
Kenneth Braswell adds, “When fathers are engaged, the entire community changes. It’s like a heartening melody that rises above the usual noise, uniting everyone in its soul-stirring tune. We’ve seen neighborhoods transform, schools improve, and families strengthen. That’s the power of a father’s presence.”
The momentum around the Million Fathers March reflects a deeper, more systemic push for parental involvement in education. Many schools and organizations across the country have been joining hands with Fathers Incorporated to make this event a resounding success. Schools have been proactive, with teachers and principals encouraging fathers to take a more active role in various school activities beyond just the march. The toolkit provided by Fathers Incorporated offers a range of resources to facilitate this, from best practices to sample letters and tips on engaging local media.
And what’s wonderful is that the Million Fathers March is an inclusive event. It’s not just for biological fathers, but for stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, mentors, and any male role models who make a difference in a child’s life. It’s a movement that says, regardless of who you are or where you come from, you have a role to play, a difference to make.
So, if you haven’t yet marked September 15 on your calendar, it’s high time you did. Whether you’re a father, a mother, a teacher, or a concerned citizen, this is your movement too. Because when fathers rise, we all rise. The Million Fathers March is not merely an annual event; it’s a lifestyle, a commitment, and a pledge to be there for our children, not just in presence but in full engagement, come what may. As Kenneth Braswell succinctly puts it, “This is not a day, it’s a dedication. A dedication to our children, to our families, and to our future.” And in that dedication, we find our purpose, our community, and our hope.