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Real Men Cook to tackle violence as health crisis during Father’s Day Celebration

Real Men Charities has made health and wellness one of its core missions. This will be reflected at its 30th annual Real Men Cook celebration on Father’s Day, June 16, from 3-5 p.m. at Hales Franciscan High School, 4930 S. Cottage Grove Ave. At the event, now in its 30th year, healthy options will be served as well as traditional fare like ribs, grilled foods and desserts. It will also address violence as a health crisis.

This year, Real Men Cook restores the Peace & Possibilities Pavilion, initially hosted in 2013 by Chef Nate Pendleton, father of slain teen Hadiya Pendleton. The effort at the Father’s Day event is an extension of the organization’s Sunday Men’s Healing Circles. The idea is to engage guests in their violence prevention recommendations and feature fathers who have lost children to violence to also share and with an interest in healing others.

Ayinde Cartman, executive director of Real Men Charities, explained the added event focus. “Because violence has been designated as a public health crisis, Real Men Charities seizes every opportunity to open the lines of communication. Our weekly sessions for men only are held every Sunday at Real Men Charities’ headquarters at the Quarry Event Center, 2423 E. 75thSt. At Real Men Cook, we open the discussion up to all of our guests for a special dialogue.”

Obari Cartman, PhD Psychology, and Real Men Charities, Inc.’s program manager, presides over the weekly activity and will coordinate activities on Father’s Day. During these weekly sessions, created by Dr. Cartman and Ayinde Cartman, the duo — both master drummers —create a for-men-only space to talk, or drum at the Quarry Event Center, a venue the non-profit purchased last year. The sessions are designed with a focus on the arts as healing pathways to personal peace and to reduce trauma. At the Real Men Cook celebration at Hales, Dr. Cartman will bring his wellness message to a broader audience, which includes intentional activities to build mentoring relationships with men. He will also share his curriculum and the organization’s mission to build healthy families and communities, with special focus on men and children.

Guests at the Peace and Possibilities Pavilion will be asked to submit suggestions and names of individuals they think are making a difference in Chicago for advancing the possibilities for healing. This effort is driven by the trauma resulting in violence in Chicago, and to help reduce the incidence of suicide that continues to increase for Black males.

Real Men Charities is inspired to grapple with this issue because it has lost men, including Associate Director, Chef Joshua Marks, who committed suicide. Others have been victims of violence. Spawned by the statistics, Real Men Charities made a commitment to save lives through conversations and healing solutions. Guests will also be asked to submit their experiences with Recovery Out Loud, an initiative launched with the South Shore Works Community Health & Wellness team last year.

“We are excited to be addressing the epidemic of violence, much of which has to do with social injustice, poverty and high unemployment,” declared Ayinde Cartman. “We hope that creating a space where we can dialogue about this issue will yield answers and resolution. Ultimately, this is an extension of our resolve to have Real Men address Real Issues.”

Lead sponsors are ComEd and U of C Medicine, supporting sponsors are Oak Street Health, Black Bloggers – Chicago, the Quarry Event Center, South Shore Current and West of the Ryan Current Magazine.

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