By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO

Fathers, grandfathers and male caretakers of all backgrounds are invited to step to the front of the line and bring their children to school September 28.   Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) will join school systems across the nation to celebrate the national Million Father March.

“The Million Father March is an effort to say to men that we value you and welcome you to be more engaged in schools.  It is an effort to say to Fathers and to schools that we value you.  There’s so many different things that dads can do in the schools,” said David Miller, a national organizer of the event.

The Million Father March kicks off a season of activities sponsored by BCPS highlighting men who care about the education and development of their children.

“We want to send the clear message that Friday is not just a one-off activity,” said Marc Laveau, Family and Engagement Specialist with the Office of Engagement for BCPS.

“We are participating in this event to mark the start of our fatherhood engagement activities. We are using the Million Father March as the kickoff of a range of activities throughout the year focused on fathers’ participation in schools,” Laveau said.

“We want people to get involved not only for Friday’s activities, but we will host a range of ways for fathers to be involved beyond Friday. We are trying to raise the awareness of school personnel that fathers have a very important part to play in their children’s education,” he added.

“The Million Father March has been going on for many years,” Miller said. Specifically, the event was originally started in 2004 and quickly expanded to almost a thousand cities nationwide before the group’s original founder, Phillip Jackson of Chicago’s Black Star Project became ill.

The 2018 Million Father March is sponsored nationally by Father’s Incorporated, an organization focused on elevating responsible fatherhood. Million Father March events are kicking off in 80 cities this Fall, including Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, according to the organization’s website.

“There’s nothing special fathers have to do to in advance to pre-register for this Friday’s Million Fathers March, said Laveau. “Some schools will have dad and donuts events, others will have a breakfast with dad, as well as a host of other events, ” Laveau said.

“Just get up early this Friday morning,  bring your children to school and prepare to be welcomed by a Baltimore City Public School that needs and values your involvement.”