Last year, the Executive Director of the Chester Housing Authority, Steven Fischer, has allowed a group of guys to gather with him to talk about fatherhood.
‘Fathers are Talking – Join the Conversation’ is the group’s name and once a month they meet in Steve’s office to share in very intimate, moving, and emotional stories of each other’s experiences and opinions of what it is to be a father.
The invitation to join the conversation is open to anyone and there is always an emphasis to find ways to bring young fathers on board to learn and share with them.
By design, theses gatherings have no formal agenda, no membership requirements, nor any other trappings of structure. It’s just a group of black fathers from Chester pouring their hearts out to each other. Steve just happens to be white and no one holds it against him.
One of the fathers, Butch Slaughter, recently launched the Odyssey Project Faces of Our Fathers Film Festival. I could only stop by on day one for a short period, but Slaughter transformed the Booker T. Washington community room in the Chatham Estates (formally Lamokin Village) into a multi-room movie production and viewing space you had to see to believe.
One of the rooms was set up with cameras, lights, and a green screen to produce movies. (I should have shot a CCity TV episode there).
If you don’t know Steven Fischer, here he is filmed in that room talking about the film fest and Fathers are Talking.