100 Fathers Inc. of Washington, DC wants to do their part in stopping the pervasive issue of domestic violence, particularly in the Black community.
The group hosted a panel-style community conversation — titled “Building Upon the Strength of Our Community; Together We!” — on Monday, Sept. 18 at Church of Our Savior in Northeast to address domestic violence, which claims the lives of Black women every day in the U.S., according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
The panel, which included Dr. Stephanie Myers, Black Women for Positive Change and Jackie Rhone of the Prince George’s County Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Division, got candid about why and how interpersonal violence runs rampant.
“We’ve finally given domestic violence a name,” Rhone said. “For many years we had family members dying. Growing up it was the house down the street where the police was always called because Mr. and Mrs. Jones was into it.
“Domestic violence has been a part of our culture for a long time — we just haven’t put a name to it and given it its true name,” she said.
Rhone said the county, alongside 100 Fathers Inc., plans to have a series of talks with men and boys about what healthy relationships look like, in an attempt to get in front of the issue.
A man who will be at the forefront of that programming, Ransom Miller, the 2017 100 Fathers Inc. Father of the Year, wants to also call the community to the carpet for being complicit.
“I would like to see us as Black men and women speak up when we see a problem as it relates to domestic violence,” Miller said. “I think as a community we’ve gotten a little soft in that regard. Say something when you see something.
“When we allow things to happen to our little girls, it perpetuates itself 10 years later, 15 years later, and [then] it’s a different problem that we can’t handle,” he said.
Miller said a turn in behavior starts with being strong examples for the children.
“Hurt people, hurt people,” he said. “In that same vein, if we have strong examples of leadership in our homes and in our communities and we highlight those things through our media outlets, our community will get better.”
Washington Informer Editor D. Kevin McNeir said one of the unspoken things about domestic violence is the familial and spiritual aspect of it.
“I believe domestic violence is nothing more than generational curses, and I don’t think when we talk about it that we look at it as some esoteric thing,” he said. “‘Well, you know, he’s just upset about this’ and ‘she just pushed him about this.’ … Counselors may disagree, but I am truly convinced that we are abusers because we saw abuse, were abused and we got a green light that said go with it.
“We let these things go on and on, generation after generation and then we start acting as if we don’t understand why it continues,” McNeir said. “Someone has to put a stop to it.”
On the spiritual side McNeir asserted that Black people must start casting demons out like they used to decades ago.
“The Bible says when you call on Jesus and you recognize it, it ends, but then there are demons that came along for the ride,” he said. “And that’s when you need some spiritual guidance. Those demons get comfortable like the dog sitting on a nail.
“When those children grow up and they leave, the demons go with them,” McNeir said. “That’s what Black people need to start talking about, ’cause back in the day, folks laid hands on you and called those demons out. We can psychologize all we want to, but until we get to the spiritual root of domestic violence, the violence in the community will persist. We got to go back to the old ways.”