Aaron Perry, founder of Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association (RLWA) and crusader to eliminate racial health disparities, is pretty excited about the findings in a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control that found that black fathers were the most involved with children no matter if they lived with them or not. According to the study, a greater percentage of black fathers, when compared with white and Hispanic fathers, fed or ate meals with children daily, bathed, diapered or dressed children daily, played with children daily, and read to children daily.
On Thursday, Feb. 27 at Marcus Point Theater, Perry will be hosting a Father/Son Night Out partly to celebrate black fatherhood and partly to put to bed the myth that black fatherhood is in a state of crisis. The Father & Son Night Out will be a celebration of black fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, stepdads and more.
“Our Father/Son Night Out is part of our intense focus on the disruption and the transformation of how black fathers are perceived. We’re still fighting stereotypes,” Perry tells Madison365. “I was excited to see that the CDC clearly reports that black fathers’ involvement is not what a lot of the stereotypes reflect. The CDC indicates that black fathers are the most involved in their children no matter if they live with them or not.
Perry founded of Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association (RLWA), to close gaps in racial disparities in health and well-being for men in the Madison area. He also was one of the architects behind the Men’s Health and Education Center, located within JP Hair Design, Madison’s largest black barbershop
“The main thing is that we have to kill this stereotype. We’re hoping to reach young fathers and send a strong message that fathers are extremely important,” he says.
Perry says that another big reason that they are hosting the Father/Son Night is that he wants to make sure that we are recognizing the fathers, the step-fathers, the grandfathers and the uncles that are doing the work. “They all step up and become a part of helping kids grow in life,” he says.
At Father/Son Night Out, fathers will be treated to dinner and a movie and there will be inspirational speakers. The event is hosted in collaboration with the All of Us Research Program at UW-Madison, which is part of a nationwide effort to enroll one million or more people who will share information over time for use in thousands of health research studies.
“All of Us will be our speakers at the event and they will talk about the importance of having our fathers participate in some of the research,” Perry says.
For the next three months, the last Thursday of each month, the Father/Son event will be a regular occurrence. The events will be hosted by Marcus Point Cinema.
“The folks at Marcus Point have been very appreciative of the fact that we are bringing this event to their facility so they’ve been very accommodating for us,” says Perry.
Perry was given a list of about 25 movies to choose from. “Call of the Wild” was selected.
“We will provide transportation for anyone who needs it,” Perry says. “And if we have a young man in the community who is fatherless, we’re hopeful that mom will drop her child off and we will have 15 men there for the sole purpose of being mentors to those young men who don’t have a father.
“We’re really just trying to move that needle and to highlight black father involvement,” he adds. “That’s the goal of this.”
The last time Perry hosted the Father/Son Night last year, they sold out the entire theater. The large group watched “Kingdom Men Rising,” a documentary film exploring what it means to be a real man in the midst of cultural trends in which there is confusion about masculinity.
“That was the perfect documentary to show for that evening and it turned out really good. I believe we had 95-100 fathers and sons that came out,” Perry says.
Perry says that if you are interested in attending you can e-mail him or reach out to him on social media. Or stop over to the Men’s Health and Education Center.
“We really want to keep this going. Right now, I still believe black men’s health is still in a crisis and this is part of uniting and getting well together,” Perry says. “That is our goal.”
Father/Son Night Out will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, 6 p.m. at Marcus Point Cinema, 7825 Big Sky Drive. To register, click here. For more information, call Aaron at (608) 843-2291.