Monday, May 5, 2014

ON MY OWN Film Premiere Shows a Passion for Repairing the Black Family
By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw
The Black family in America has become a matriarchal structure, and is doomed to stay that way.  So warns Wikipedia, and while not everything Wikipedia says is true, there is more than a modicum of truth in this declaration.  A large proportion of Black mothers and expectant mothers simply accept as fact that they will raise their children alone.  And many Black fathers have sadly been conditioned to believe they are not needed in the home because Black women are strong enough to raise their families by themselves.

During the past decade it has become increasingly clear within the Black community that many of its problems – everything from crime, to substance abuse, to teen pregnancies – stem from fractured families.  The family is the bedrock upon which every society is built, and our family structures need a lot of shoring up.

The premiere of the highly anticipated documentary ON MY OWN, which took place at ALOFT Harlem on Saturday, April 26, was well-attended, and included film participants, community leaders, media, and special guests.   ON MY OWN opens a refreshing dialogue that helps offset the onslaught of negative discourse about Black families in this country (for example, constant reminders from conservatives about family instability within the African American community). 

The panel discussion that followed the screening was filled with passionate comments and suggested solutions.  It was clear that everyone in attendance deeply cared about the Black family.  Veteran filmmaker Nicole Franklin said, “Rachel has such a sensitive touch with the subject matter.  The film presented multiple sides of this critical issue in a brave new light.  I suspect this film will be referenced for many years to come.”  

ON MY OWN is a sincere effort to get people in the Black community engaged in the fight to put our families back together again.  It underscores that major pro-fatherhood, pro-marriage, and co-parenting movements are ongoing, and need more community support and involvement.  Everyone – from legislators, fatherhood organizations, and black churches, to the general public must get involved and instill healthy family values in young African Americans.  If we all do our part and work diligently to fix our broken families, the positive results will be reflected in our children, our communities, future Census reports and eventually, perhaps even in Wikipedia.

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