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The Richmond Improvement Association will be launching a new campaign today, Father's Day, calling on fathers to reconnect with their children and their families as a way to help stop the violence in Bay Area communities, according to Rev. Andre Shumake, president of the association.
Through the campaign, "The Movement of Love Against Violence and Celebration of Diversity" will be working with incarcerated fathers to help them reconnect with their children and their families, Shumake said.
Shumake said the program so far has been received with enthusiasm both inside and outside prison walls.
"This movement is about bringing fathers together -- both incarcerated fathers and those that are not -- to reunite them with their sons and their daughters," Shumake said.
He said he believes that much of the violence in cities like Richmond stems from the fact that young boys are growing up without fathers in their lives.
"What we're saying to the fathers is its time for them to reconnected with their children, their families and their communities," Shumake said.
Volunteers with the movement have been working with inmates in several California prisons to help them become better fathers and, once they are released from prison, to help connect them with the services they need so they can become assets to their communities.
"It's time for fathers to step up and take charge. Our male youth need the guidance that a father must provide. Fathers, it's time," a new brochure announcing the movement says.
During the program's launch celebration today, several mothers who have lost children to gun violence will be telling their stories, Shumake said.
The movement will be launched at the Independent Community Church of God in Christ at 605 S. 16th St. in Richmond at 9 a.m.
The association is also working with representatives from state Sen. Leland Yee's office to plan a large rally in San Francisco in August, Shumake said.
"Our goal is to make this a statewide, if not a nationwide, effort," Shumake said.