This year I will be celebrating Father’s Day with my dad at his home in Delaware. Because of the coronavirus I am sheltering at his home in order to get a brief reprieve from New York City. I have not lived with my dad, Theodore Greer, since I was a teenager in high school and it is a bit surreal to be an adult “living back at home.”
My dad has generously opened his home to not only me, but a dear friend and colleague during this time. We’ve eaten family dinner every night, set up a screen and projector and have movie night each night, and have spent time telling stories and enjoying the night air looking at the moon. Even in the midst of all of the turmoil and unrest in the world, I am so grateful to have a home and a dad who has welcomed me into his world for these past (and future) few weeks.
Spending time with my dad makes me think of the daughter of George Floyd and the children of countless Black men who have been murdered by the state and vigilantes. There are thousands of Black children who will not be able to spend Father’s Day with their dads due to unbridled police violence. There are thousands of Black children who will not be able to spend time with their dads this Sunday because of the racist carceral state that has taken men out of their communities and away from their families for generations.
For some, their fathers have passed away and they miss them terribly. They miss getting a piece of sage advice, a squeeze on their shoulder, or just the smell of cologne or their favorite item of clothing. For others, they have never met their dad and have been raised by a collection of men who have stepped up and stepped in to assist in laying a foundation for them at various points in their lives.
This year, Father’s Day feels different. It feels heavy. It feels like so many of us are trying to organize the feelings and thoughts we have about Black fathers, past, present, and future. There is a tax on Black life in this nation and it is palpable.
This Father’s Day, I will take time to not only appreciate my father, but to remember and celebrate the lives of countless Black men who have been murdered on U.S. soil by domestic terrorism committed by agents of the state. I will remember the children they left behind and keep them close to my heart. I will be present and I will be thankful. I will be sure to reach out to my Omega Psi Phi uncles and family and friends. And I will thank my father for always being there for me. Happy Father’s Day.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.