NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Uplifting Black families was the goal in Norfolk on Sunday during a peaceful march down Church Street.
The “Black Fathers Matter” march comes almost a month after George Floyd’s death in police custody sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice.
“Being a Norfolk police officer for the last 18 years, community relation is a big thing for me. As the coordinator for the police athletic league, getting kids in there and having their first interaction with police officers,” said Ali Williams, who works for the Norfolk Police Department and is a father of three.
“Just being out in the community is extremely important. Being a father is extremely important — it’s needed,” he explained.
He spoke to the group who first prayed and talked about motivating Black men to be fathers in their communities.
Then, the group marched down Church Street to Lafayette Park.
“Being a father doesn’t just consist of being in the household, it can be out in the community too,” he explained.
Williams said it is very simple to uplift Black fathers and more importantly, it is necessary.
“Encouragement. Support. Just encourage the fathers to be fathers. Show them that you’re on their side. Give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to be fathers to their children,” he said.
Even the smallest voices with the smallest signs wanted to send a message of unity and encouragement to Black fathers in the community on Father’s Day.
Ten-year-old Darrey Quin made a sign today for his father. His perspective, of course, is a little different.
“If you didn’t have a father, you wouldn’t know most things that you know now.”
But his heart is the same.
“It’s important for your parents. You should mostly care about them and make them feel special. Happy Father’s Day, dad,” he said.
Some of the people who were marching said that they really felt like the message to encourage and motivate Black fathers in the community was well received. They just hope that they truly feel the love every day in Norfolk.
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