By The Chicago Crusader
Real Men Cook–Chicago’s premiere urban Father’s Day charity event — marks its 30-year milestone this year. The food-tasting event’s purpose is to uplift families, promote wellness and highlight positive Black male engagement. This year’s celebration is being held on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Hales Franciscan, an all-male high school located at 4930 S. Cottage Grove, in Chicago’s Bronzeville community.
Real Men Cook is the largest, longest-running and most-anticipated Father’s Day celebration of its kind. It provides a platform where “real men” from all walks of life give up Father’s Day pampering to work and be celebrated for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to their families and to their communities.
In making the announcement, Ayinde Cartman, executive director of Real Men Charities — the presenting nonprofit — stated that the longevity of Real Men Cook is testimony to its endurance as a must-attend family celebration and to the community’s embrace of its mission. He added that this year’s event will feature the standard fare of celebration, food, family and fun but will include reflections on its history with tributes to the founders, cooks, volunteers — the heroes and heroines behind the event’s success.
He added that this year’s gala will be driven by the hashtag #RealMen30, which will be a landing spot where well wishes will be placed.
“We are excited to reach this 30-year journey,“ Rael Jackson, long-time Real Men Cook director, declared. “I have grown up with Real Men Cook. Seeing how far we’ve come and understanding the commitment by participants is amazing. It is also fantastic to see these men bring their culinary artistry and their families each year in a spirit of love.”
Explained Cartman, “All my life these men of Real Men Cook have devoted countless volunteer hours and resources to cook their favorite dishes and serve. It is inspiring because the overarching goal is to influence young men to serve and grow their families and communities throughout the year.”
The event will continue a Real Men Charities, Inc. tradition of promoting health and wellness, prevention and awareness for families and children. Accordingly, men will be serving traditional dishes as well as healthy, fresh and vegan dishes. They will also be broadcasting the message that every day food selections can help to prevent disease.
Cartman stressed that over the years, Real Men Cook has grown into a Movement. “Life is about change,” he declared, “and we welcome change. At the same time, Real Men Cook has remained true to its original mission of promoting healthy families and keeping the good men movement vibrant while engaging every segment of our community. We are encouraged and humbled that there was such an outpouring of love to Real Men Cook over the years and over the decades. Family and community love symbolize the spirit of the day!”
Celebrities, media personalities, ministers, politicians, entertainers, athletes, local community leaders, chefs and everyday hard-working fathers and father figures will participate as part of their resolve to defy the negative images often depicted in the media.
Some of the high-profile men who have participated in the past include U.S. Senator Barack Obama, actors Idris Elba, Mel Jackson, Shemar Moore and Anthony Anderson, Grammy Award winner and hip-hop artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith, comedian/actor J. Anthony Brown, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis as well as legislator Danny Davis and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The event attracts a host of father/son combos who come together to cook, connect and strengthen their ties. Among the fathers and sons who have attended are former Senate President Emil Jones and his son Senator Emil Jones, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his sons, former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Professor Jonathan Jackson, the late Alderman and Mayor Eugene Sawyer and his sons, Roderick and Shedrick. Tom Joyner’s sons have also represented and paid tribute to their dad at Real Men Cook.
For more information, visit www.realmencharitiesinc.org.