Growing up in South Philadelphia in the 1960s and ’70s, there were a lot of Philly sports stars to idolize. There was Michael Jack Schmidt and Tug McGraw on the Fightin’ Phils. Ron “Jaws” Jaworski and Harold Carmichael on the Eagles, Bobby Clarke with the Flyers, and Julius “Doctor J” Erving of the 76ers.
But I had a different role model who put on a uniform every day. My dad. My father was a city firefighter, who, along with my mother, worked two jobs to put me and my siblings through parochial school.
I was fortunate to have a great father as a role model, and I’ve adopted the lessons he taught me in raising my own two children. As mayor of Philadelphia, I interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of boys and young men each year. I’ve seen fathers at their best and, unfortunately, at their worst, and that’s why I think it’s so important this Father’s Day to encourage dads in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania to promote healthy relationships and serve as positive role models.
This Father’s Day, I am joining the Phillies in encouraging men to make a commitment to helping to end gender violence by signing the #FathersDayPledgePA online at www.pasaysnomore.com . The Phillies are again partnering with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence to recognize men of all ages who believe in healthy, respectful relationships.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but I urge you to embrace the tenets of the pledge:
- Not use violence of any form in my relationships.
- Speak up if another man is abusing his partner or is disrespectful or abusive to women and girls. Do not remain silent.
- Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence.
- Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don¹t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Lead by example.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are more prevalent than you think. Studies show one in three women and one in four men will experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes. One in 15 children will be exposed to domestic violence. In 2016, in Philadelphia County, 19 people lost their lives last year at the hands of domestic violence, according to PCADV’s annual Fatality Report. Figures show 102 people victims died last year statewide.
Please join me in standing up to help keep victims and communities safer. I am calling on Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians, and men everywhere to say NO MORE to gender violence by taking the Father’s Day Pledge at www.pasaysnomore.com.
Jim Kenney is the mayor of Philadelphia.