Tired of both the problems confronting black males in Philadelphia and the problems caused by some black males Bilal Qayyum decided to do more to make a positive change. In 1989 Qayyum founded the Father’s Day Rally Committee to promote responsible fatherhood in the African-American communities of Philadelphia. Over two decades later the FDRC is one of Philadelphia’s most active grassroots organizations working to stop the negative attitudes that destroy families and neighborhoods across the city.
The FDRC held its first citywide rally in 1989. Qayyum, the president of the FDRC, explained that more than 300 men came out to support the cause. The organization held five rallies in 1989 alone. At these rallies, the men discussed some of the issues surrounding communities and brainstormed solutions.
“Every time you pick up the newspaper or you turn on the TV, you always see these negative images of black men being portrayed … So we got together and we brainstormed about how we could change the perception and images of black men, ” Qayyum said.
The FDRC has a series of programs designed to promote more productive interaction between African-American males and their communities. Project Lifeline is a citywide effort to support the growth of strong family relationships. Black Men in Crisis is an initiative created by the FDRC to unite black men across the city to confront issues regarding the criminal justice system, economic development and health education. The FDRC also manages the David P. Richardson Rites of Passage Program, the Universal Men’s Health Initiative and the Fathers Fed Up Program.
“We’re one of the main advocators and spokespeople in the City of Philadelphia for African-American men and their concerns,” Qayyum said.
One of the FDRC’s most popular events is its family picnic in Fairmount Park held annually on – what else – Father’s Day.
For more information on the FDRC or to get involved, visit its website at https://www.fdrc.net/.