The Thousand Man March Committee is a group that was formed in 2010 to address men’s issues from a more intimate and focused perspective, as well as to provide males with the resources they may need to become better fathers, brothers, sons, uncles and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
“There has been a void in society with regard to men’s issues and standards that men should have. We felt there needed to be a more consistent and concise message promoting values and roles in society for men,” explained Thousand Man March Committee Board Member and Director of Communications Philip Jackson.
The group’s mission statement is as follows: “Our purpose is to encourage men as they face challenges in life and promote the need for men to fulfil their responsibilities to their families & society.”
Joining Jackson for the discussion was the group’s Chairman Pastor Cassius Fear, who noted that, “As it relates to family and how we relate to each other, healthy relationships that foster a communal spirit are the ultimate goal of our assignment in this outreach. We have to embrace and encourage work toward the common goal of nation building.”
The Pastor added that there is evidence for instance, that there is a correlation between absentee fathers and violence. He said the words of affirmation such as “great job, I love you and you are a great son,” are all to often not spoken and if young men do not find examples to follow in the home, they will find their own examples to follow.
The men emphasised that the March in February of 2010, which took place in response to a rash of violence in the Cayman Islands was not a one time occurrence and that the motive of the Thousand Man March Committee going forward was to build on that event by bringing a fresh perspective and rasing the level of awareness regarding issues affecting men.
Over one thousand men marched from the cricket field off Bobby Thompson Way to Heroes Square in George Town and took a pledge in February of 2010. That pledge can be found on the Committee’s website at 1000manmarch.com for like minded individuals in the community. Membership to the Committee is US$25 per anum and this helps to assist with reading materials and other resources made available on the site.
“Its about the passion to see men affected by the awareness of what real success is. Many times we simply tell our children to get an education to make money and that is success, but success is also about developing fully to impact your community and the world. It is about being present in the home and being a good example for your children as much as it is about providing for them. We want to redefine success in the minds of young men,” said the pastor.
They are encouraging men who are having difficulties raising children and family to be a part of the movement and get involved in affecting the Cayman Islands and indeed the world positively. For example at the Committee’s recent Father’s Day Walk, Run everyone who participated received a copy of “Being a Champion to Your Wife and Kids,” as well as “Energising Your Marriage with Love and Respect.”
“Resources will be made available and some one will always be available by email or phone as part of the effort. We need for young men to be guided and mentored in making right choices. To this end we are engaging programmes such as the Passport2Success and the Boxing Association, the Boneventure Boys Home and wherever there are young people who can benefit from this message of total development in all areas; be it spiritual, emotional, financial, physical, family and/or relationships,” noted Jackson, who added that the focus is on males, as the majority of crime and violence in the Cayman Islands is perpetrated by young males.
Pastor Fear added, “We also want to connect with other groups of similar interest such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, who need males mentors.”
In keeping with its goals for 2012, which included the development and launch of its website, a screening of the film “Courageous” and the 5K Walk, Run, which have all come to fruition, Jackson and Pastor Fear said the Thousand Man March Committee would also be introducing a Man of Honour Award ceremony.
They said that there are not sufficient role models other than rap stars and athletes but that they want to recognise males who are being good fathers and sons. These men will be nominated by their wife and kids and judged by the National Centre for Fathering overseas in the interest of independence with regard to the selection process of winners,” said the pastor.
12 men will be selected annually for the award; half over 40 years of age and half under 40 years of age.
Visit the Thousand Man March Committee’s website and 100manmarch.com to learn more about the pledge and how you can make a difference in the Cayman Islands’ community.