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The
Fatherhood

Coalition

Protest: Fathers Day 1999

State House, June 17, 1999

 


Note: The Fatherhood Coalition did several different events around Fathers Day 1999: A protest on the State House steps of DOR's "Responsible Fatherhood Day"; participation in Responsible Fatherhood Day on the Common; and a tunnel fundraiser.

Press Release:
BOSTON, June 18, 1999
No Happy Fathers Day for State's Non-Custodial Fathers
DOR "Responsible Fatherhood" event at State House mocks fatherhood-
Fatherhood Coalition to hold counter-demonstration

MEDIA FALLOUT (text below)

Fathers, Women's Group Decry State Recognition Event
Jean McMillan, AP, June 18, 1999

Fathers Honored for Child Support
Brian S. McNiff, Telegram & Gazette Bsoton bureau, June 19, 1999

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Hello all,

Earl Sholley, CPF SW -Metro, is running a rally at the State House on Thursday, June 17th. from 11AM to 2PM (lunch hours). Theme: Fathers are Fundamental, Equal Justice under the law.

For further information, call Earl at 508/533-4893

John Flahery, Cochairman,CPFDate, 1999

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( DOR CSE Press release attached )

The fatherhood coalition was at it again.

On the main staircase out front of the Mzachussets state house building,on Beacon Street coalition members mingled with passers by.

Office workers on a lunch break, as well as school groups and tourists, stopped and asked about The Fatherhood Coalition.

Earl had brought about 200 "I Love Being a DAD " bumper stikers....... and a press release pass out......we gave the pass out to those who took it and delivered to the legislators the rest of the news sheets.

Donations for the bumper stiker....They actually came up to us off the street asking for the stikers The $ tally $ is not in yet...we'll just combine the proceeds with the funds from the Saturday/ Sunday East Boston tunnel fund drive.

We plan on being at the East Boston end of the Boston Harbour Tunnel all day Sat/ Sun 7:30 am 7 Pm

Afternoon slots are open ( with 8 lanes ) call Earl at 508- 533- 4893 or 617- SAD - DADS (617- 723 - 3237 ) better yet ......Just come by an pitch in.

Collection equiptment/ pass outs provided and #1 DADS hats too

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Hello, all:

Here's what about 15 focused man and women did in Boston yesterday. The message that defining fatherhood is the business of fathers, not government agencies, is getting out.

John Maguire

Mass. Fatherhood News.
======================

Fathers, Women's Group Decry State Recognition Event
Jean McMillan, AP, June 18, 1999

BOSTON (AP) - The state Department of Revenue honored a group of fathers Friday, saying they were models because they faithfully paid their child support.

The department offered T-shirts, fruit salad and a cake for the honorees who came with their children dressed in their Sunday best.


"The Department of Revenue's only concern is cash. Government bean counters have no business defining fatherhood,'' said Mark Charalambous, of The Fatherhood Coalition, a divorced fathers advocacy group.

''I think it's kind of insulting that a state organization that puts fathers in jail daily has any business at all in talking about responsible fatherhood,'' said Charalambous, a Leominster divorced father of two.

But some activists for divorced fathers said the government tax agency shouldn't hold itself out as a judge of fathers. And a women's group said it should be mothers who received the accolades because of all that they do.

"The Department of Revenue's only concern is cash. Government bean counters have no business defining fatherhood,'' said Mark Charalambous, of The Fatherhood Coalition, a divorced fathers advocacy group.

''I think it's kind of insulting that a state organization that puts fathers in jail daily has any business at all in talking about responsible fatherhood,'' said Charalambous, a Leominster divorced father of two.

Amy Pitter, deputy commissioner of the Division of Child Support Enforcement, which is overseen by DOR, defended the event.

''We have to have a carrot and a stick approach. On the one hand, we have to show that we can be tough when that's appropriate,'' Pitter said. ''And we also think it's important that we role-model fathers like the ones that are here today.''

DOR has drawn the media spotlight for its efforts to hunt down deadbeat parents, including its creation of ''Wanted'' posters similar to the FBI's.

But DOR sent out 5,000 letters in the spring to parents who consistently pay their child support, inviting the children to send in drawings and essays to nominate their fathers.

Pitter said paying child support was only one of several criteria for the awards, but it was an important one.

''That's the basic fundamental obligation you have to your children - to support them. The fathers who are here today have done much more,'' she said.

Gov. Paul Cellucci agreed.

''The kids need emotional support more than the financial support. What they really need is both,'' he said.

Outside the Statehouse, about a dozen men from The Fatherhood Coalition held signs to protest the event and call attention to what they say are heavy-handed tactics by the DOR and the extraordinary financial demands placed on divorced fathers.

Another group that said it didn't favor the event was the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization of Women.

''It's really the mothers who should be getting awards for their everyday acts, and not only financially supporting their children, but taking care of their everyday needs,'' said President Cheryl Garrity.

''While I'm not portraying all fathers as being bad - there are fathers who do their share - we need to recognize the mothers as well,'' she said.

The fathers honored were William Biando of Spencer; Jeff LaClair of Gardner; Roger Kimball of Springfield; Michael Lander and David Maxifield, both of Brockton; David O'Donnell Jr., of Bellingham; James Sherman of Attleboro; Thomas Thornton of Foxboro; Benjamin Taylor of Methuen; and Paul Taylor of Marlboro.

''I don't think I'm better than any other fathers out there,'' LeClair said. ''And I owe most of it to what I learned growing up about what it means to be a parent and also from the rest of my family.''

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Fathers Honored for Child Support
Brian S. McNiff, Telegram & Gazette Bsoton bureau, June 19, 1999

BOSTON-- “Every kid needs one thing in life, TLC -- tender loving care -- and I just try to provide that,” said Paul Taylor of Marlboro, one of the fathers honored yesterday at the Statehouse.

For the third year, the Department of Revenue held its Fatherhood Recognition Contest, which honors fathers who consistently pay their child support. It is the flip side of DOR's drive against deadbeat dads that has netted seven of their most-wanted deadbeats since March.

 Taylor's two boys, Daniel, 8, and Paul, 11, live in Worcester, but he said he gets to see them every weekend. After yesterday's ceremony in the Great Hall of the Statehouse, the three were going camping.

“It's great for the commonwealth to recognize me and the other nine, but we're not the only one's doing our duty by our children. They're only kids for so long,” he said.

 Jeff LaClair of Gardner said, “I was elated when I found out about it,” though he said he had not yet seen what Joshua, 10, and John, 12, of Baldwinville submitted.

Another father honored was David O'Donnell Jr., of Bellingham. His three children, David, 13, Amanda, 11, and Anna, 8, live in Douglas.

The DOR sent 5,000 letters earlier this year to parents who consistently pay their child support and invited their children to submit drawings, poems, letters or essays describing their father's impact on their lives.

The 10 winners received tickets to a Red Sox baseball game or a whale watch boat trip, a T-Shirt and a certificate. 

William Biando of Spencer, whose daughter Lindsaylee, 8, of Worcester, put his name in, said the certificate “is going right next to her picture above my desk.”

Though he and the others were honored from a pool of those who pay child support, Biando remarked, “Child support money is no big deal; being part of her life is.”

Some activists for divorced fathers said the DOR shouldn't hold itself out as a judge of fathers. And a women's group said it should be mothers who received the accolades because of all that they do.

 “The Department of Revenue's only concern is cash. Government bean counters have no business defining fatherhood,” said Mark A. Charalambous, of The Fatherhood Coalition, a divorced fathers advocacy group.

 “I think it's kind of insulting that a state organization that puts fathers in jail daily has any business at all in talking about responsible fatherhood,” said Charalambous, a Leominster divorced father of two.

Amy Pitter, deputy commissioner of the Division of Child Support Enforcement, which is overseen by DOR, defended the event.

“We have to have a carrot and a stick approach. On the one hand, we have to show that we can be tough when that's appropriate,” Pitter said. “And we also think it's important that we role-model fathers like the ones that are here today.” 

DOR has drawn the media spotlight for its efforts to hunt down deadbeat parents, including its creation of “Wanted” posters similar to the FBI's. 

Another group that said it did not favor the event was the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization of Women.

“It's really the mothers who should be getting awards for their everyday acts, and not only financially supporting their children but taking care of their everyday needs,” said President Cheryl Garrity.

 “While I'm not portraying all fathers as being bad -- there are fathers who do their share -- we need to recognize the mothers as well,” she said.

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