“Father’s Day is a holiday that has historically been overlooked,” said Lovelle McMichael, co-organizer of Uniting Men for Change.
Uniting Black Men for Change presents its inaugural “Step Up, Step Out, Step In” walk and festival on Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, in conjunction with Juneteenth weekend. This assembly was put together by Tony Graham, Rev. Lovelle McMichael, and Greg Commander, who each invited additional men from throughout the community to assist with this effort.
“The vision of Uniting Black Men for Change is to form a collective body of men, of various experiences and perspectives, structured and committed, towards guiding and grooming, black males of all ages, and thus, their families, into becoming active, productive neighbors within the communities of which they live, work, worship and frequent,” said Graham. “We will be walking in suits in efforts to uplift and re-image the Black man in society. We are leaders, fathers, uncles, brothers, sons, and positive members of our community, not imposing threats.”
The event will start promptly at 2 p.m. at Morehead Recreation Center, 101 Price Street in High Point. The men will walk to the historic Washington Street Business District, at the corner of Fourth and Washington Streets, where a festival will take place. The organization will be distributing some suits collected from the community for men without suits on the day of the event. The festival will include speakers, various vendors, giveaways, live entertainment, and family-oriented events. The event is expected to end at 7 p.m.
“We have assembled a team to build on our collective strengths while minimizing our individual weaknesses. We are standing on our four pillars of service: Education, Employment, Economic Empowerment, and the Eradication of Injustice within our communities,” said Graham.
“With the recent commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa, Oklahoma Massacre and Juneteenth also falling on this weekend, we wanted to bring additional recognition to High Point’s “hidden gem” of the Historic Washington Street Business District, which holds the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places and recently in the process of gaining its local designation. This area has been an important vessel for African Americans within High Point for many, many years and was thus, determined as the host location for this inaugural event,” said Graham.
McMichael said that the walk is about more than the location.
“We call it the walk of solidarity. When we walk together, we show solidarity and demonstrate freedom. Most importantly, we demonstrate humanity, and we are free in sharing our heritage and sharing our fatherhood.”
“Washington Street Business District is recognized nationally but has yet to be recognized locally. That is why it is better to serve our community as a collective and continue contributing positive attributes. Maybe one day we will change that narrative,” said McMichael.
Graham adds to the conversation.
“There are five of us that meet on Mondays to keep the conversation going and share new ideas we may have. We know there are others in the community doing wonderful things, and sometimes our circles don’t intersect, so we miss out on opportunities. This is our way of minimizing that issue as much as possible and learning to lean on each other.”
Those interested in becoming a vendor or sponsor should contact Uniting Black Men for Change at email@example.com for additional information.