Rolling Out

Mayor Brandon Johnson celebrates Father’s Day at Soldier Field in Chicago

Mayor Brandon Johnson connected Black fathers in Chicago
Damon Williams, Comedian and Host, Korporate - Social Media Influencer, Musician, Actor, Michael Strautmanis, Executive Vice President for External Affairs of Obama Foundation, Kevin Warren, President of the Chicago Bears, Mayor Brandon Johnson at Mayor Brandon Johnson's Fathers Day event in Chicago (Photo Credit: Amber Marie Green)

In a historic gathering at Soldier Field on June 13, Chicago’s fathers, predominantly Black men, assembled to partake in an unprecedented celebration of fatherhood hosted by Mayor Brandon Johnson. The event, a first of its kind, resonated with pride, unity, and a shared sense of purpose among the attendees. The evening featured a candid panel discussion highlighting the critical role of fathers and underscoring the importance of their recognition and celebration.

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Father’s Day event marked a significant milestone in the city’s history. It focused on celebrating and uplifting the voices and experiences of Black fathers. This event recognized their contributions and provided a platform to foster dialogue, share experiences, and build a supportive community. The turnout was impressive, with fathers from various walks of life brimming with pride and enthusiasm.

The evening featured a distinguished panel that included Johnson; Michael Strautmanis, executive vice president for External Affairs for the Obama Foundation; Kevin Warren, president of the Chicago Bears; and social media influencer Korporate. Comedian Damon Williams hosted the event, bringing his unique blend of humor and insight to the discussion.

The panelists shared personal anecdotes and professional insights, creating a rich dialogue around the theme of fatherhood. In his opening remarks, Mayor Johnson emphasized the profound impact fathers have on their children and communities. He highlighted the need for such celebrations to acknowledge their efforts and give them the recognition they deserve.

The heart of the event was a candid discussion that touched on various aspects of fatherhood. The panelists discussed the challenges and joys of being a father, the lessons they learned from their own fathers, and the importance of being present and engaged in their children’s lives. The conversation also delved into the societal expectations placed on fathers and the unique pressures Black fathers face in America.

Michael Strautmanis shared his experience of balancing a demanding career with fatherhood, while Kevin Warren spoke about his father’s influence on his leadership style and career decisions. Korporate added a modern perspective, discussing how he navigates fatherhood in the digital age, where social media plays a significant role in parenting.

The event stressed the critical role fathers play in the development and well-being of their children. Panelists highlighted that fatherhood is not just about providing financially but also about being emotionally available, setting examples, and nurturing their children’s growth and aspirations.

Joseph Williams, executive director of Mr. Dad Father’s Club, articulated the essence of the event in his remarks to rolling out. He said, “It shows that someone cares about our fathers, but more than anything, the significance is it brings tons of men together to celebrate one another, to educate one another. I think this experience today was very instrumental because the conversation that they had hit home on so many levels. When we talk about our interactions with our children, when we talk about what we learned growing up as kids and didn’t have it, or didn’t have a father in our life and all of those different types of things, we just had the opportunity to hear a great conversation. I’m really glad the mayor hosted this type of event, and I hope he comes back and hosts another one next year. To be in this space today, you felt the love, you felt the energy, and we got a chance to network and just communicate with tons of other great men and fathers here today.”

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