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More on the Fathering Festival

A delegation of RCers did a “going public with RC” project at the Fathering Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. [See previous article.] The festival was a beautiful two-day event, and I left feeling hopeful and inspired.

The delegation came together to extend and deepen the work of a wide-world Fathering Circle organized by Billy Yalowitz, a Philadelphia Area Reference Person and wide-world community activist. Billy started the group with two other fathers—one African heritage and one Latino. The majority of the men in the group are men of color.

The evening before the Fathering Festival, the RC delegation watched a film about the Fathering Circle that included clips from their meetings. The dads were open hearted and vulnerable as they shared the wonderful and challenging things about being dads. They talked about growing up without encouragement to show feelings and caring and about the sexism they didn’t want to act out at their female partners. The film also showed them being together and playing with their children.

I learned how much can be done to teach the ideas of Co-Counseling before people are ready for the whole RC program. The listening the men have done with each other, the relationships they have built, the support they’ve given to each other as they play with their children have created a community of caring and a base for doing men’s liberation work, standing against sexism, and learning to back [support] their children more fully.

In spending two days at the festival with the dads and their families, I could see the close connections among them. Children would run up to other dads they knew from their play days and jump in their arms with delight and trust.

The RC delegation made good contacts and communicated good information to folks who came to the event. But I think our most important work was to support the Fathering Circle dads as they learned the fundamentals of RC, a natural next step in the work they were already doing. Along with others from the public, the Fathering Circle dads attended a talk that Chuck Esser and Fela Barclift gave about RC and family work. Chuck talked about being a dad and men’s oppression, and Fela talked about what parents of color are up against as they raise their children in a racist society.

Later our delegation led dads’ and moms’ support groups, to give people more of a chance to experience RC.

At a dance performance the dads did with their children, I could see that they had been learning about following the lead of their children.

I led a listening project. As people arrived we connected with them, listened, and advertised the RC events. The Philadelphia Community worked well together.

Marya Axner

International Liberation Reference Person for Parents

Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion listfor leaders of parents

(Present Time 191, April 2018)


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00