The Crusader Newspaper Group

Rep. Davis to take children to prison to see dads for Father’s Day 

 Will award great fathers, too 

In addition to honoring men for Father’s Day, and Juneteenth, Representative Danny Davis (D-7th) will be honoring “Child’s Day” by bringing a busload of youth and their families to the Sheridan Correctional Center where they will be united with their incarcerated dads on Saturday, June 22. 

“We take children to the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities, this year to Sheridan, to see and interact with their fathers who are incarcerated,” Davis told the Chicago Crusader Monday, June 10.  

“That has turned out to be a very effective activity. We have fathers who cry, do things that are unusual for some men who cry and sob when they see their children. Sometimes we’ve had fathers who have never seen their children because when their children were born, they were incarcerated.” 

He recalled one time when he had taken a busload to one of the prisons and one inmate was so disappointed. “He came over to me and said, “I guess my family didn’t get the right information or they missed the bus. They are not here.”  

Davis said a little boy sitting at the next table heard him and spoke up saying, “Daddy, I’m here.” Davis said the father had not seen his son in six years and didn’t recognize him. “They held hands the rest of the day. We’ve had some wonderful experiences.” 

Cherita Logan, district director for Davis, told the Chicago Crusader, “Taking the children to see their fathers is the real reason for this trip. It is a family re-connection initiative. We board the bus no later than 6:30 a.m., Saturday, and we leave at 7 a.m. for the Sheridan Correctional Center. 

  

“We have to fill out a background sheet for those wanting to come, as required by the Illinois Department of Corrections. We have to submit the names in advance, of those wanting to go and their reasons for going to Sheridan,” Logan explained. 

  

“We try to take people who have health organizations who can help the inmates when they are released because this helps to build relationships with the families and the inmates,” she stated.  

Once there, Logan said families interact with the inmates, moving around, playing games, coloring, reading books with the inmates. “If the family member goes and an inmate does not come out, we sit with the family member. If the inmate doesn’t come out but the family member is there, then we sit with the inmate.” 

  

Logan said there is a period where the Congressman and the men go into an area for a personal workshop conversation, and the women and children remain with Logan where they talk about supportive services for the women. They talk about the stigma of getting on the bus and taking the trip to the prison, along with how they can support each other. 

  

Davis said he is leaving early from the Sheridan facility because he is also hosting a post-Father’s Day event at his office, presented by the Block-By-Block Coalition, which is hosting a “Save The Men, Family, and Community” march, 10 a.m. Saturday, June 22, at St. Joseph MBC, 2901 W. Monroe.  

Participants will march to Davis’ office at 2813 W. 5th Ave., where the congressman will pay tributes to fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles and local male mentors upon his return from the Sheridan facility. 

Davis said for those who can’t go to the Sheridan facility, they will be attending the “Fatherhood in the Hood” event at his office where he will honor several fathers.  

“It will be a full day of activities. We’ve partnered with other organizations that have Father Day initiatives.”  

The congressman is also hosting a panel discussion on the need for more public policy concerning mental health, youth and parenting. 

While connecting children with their incarcerated fathers is a part of his prison agenda, Davis is also concerned about the rise of crime among youth, some as young as 11 and many between 14 and 16 who have been charged by the Chicago police with felonies.  

“Much has to do with it is parenting,” said Davis. “Parenting often plays a big role in the development of children. When parents don’t have the resources to raise children or when children are raised in single parent homes where you don’t get all the help you need, it’s hard to raise children with two parents let alone one.” 

He said a one-parent home is even more difficult especially when that parent lacks the resources, she or he needs to properly raise their child, including not having enough to eat or knowledge of how to discipline children.  

“We could develop a whole bunch of parenting programs. I try to get senior citizens to become surrogates.” 

When he recently went to an event, he encountered a lady who was a foster parent, having raised 16 children. “I hugged her,” he said, and invited her to get involved in his Child Welfare group of volunteers.  

“Parenting plays a big role in the development of children.” When children’s groups come to D.C., Davis said oftentimes the children will tell him if he could help his parents, it would help make their lives better. 

With some parents not knowing how to raise their children, some cursing at them or using substances around them, Davis said if they could take their children to church, introduce them to bible school, pray, I think that would reduce crime.”  

He commended the Illinois budget passed last week which he said has some “good nuggets in there, some resources in there for-child welfare activities. I commend the governor and the state legislature for passing a good budget for Illinois,  especially that it deals with child welfare activities.” 

  

For information on Davis’ Juneteenth/post Father’s Day activities, call Cherita Logan at 773.533.7520. 

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