Sunday, June 14, 2009

Padres Sí Somos (We Are Fathers)

At this moment, when after so many years of struggle, Puerto Rico at last is at the doors of having a so needed law of joint custody, appears the pro-joint custody group Padres Sí Somos ( The organization has the purpose of grouping Puerto Rican single fathers to serve them as support, bringing them orientation and help to deal with the daily problems and situations that they confront as head of family, in summary, to promote the development of men in their role as fathers.

The group was established by José Raúl Morales. Morales is a single father who is raising his son 7 years old son Arnaldo Raúl Morales since his first year. The problems that he has confronted as a single father served him as motivation for the creation of the organization. Currently, Morales seeks to establish alliances with diverse government agencies so they could help to provide professional services for the fathers who his group represents.

This group is an important effort that could crystallize advancements in the struggle for equality between fathers and mothers. Apart from its function as support for fathers, the group has assumed a star role in the lobbying in favor of the law of joint custody that is now under the consideration of the Senate of Puerto Rico. Padres Sí Somos is part of a new paradigm in the Puerto Rican society, paradigm that assigns equal importance to fathers and mothers in the raising of their children. In a country like Puerto Rico, where divorce is a true social epidemic, efforts to integrate divorced fathers to the lives of their children are urgently necessary.

It amazes me the wholeness of their approach and strategy. The services that the organization offers include orientation, meetings in support groups, contacts with health professionals, contacts for legal assistance, lectures, family recreational events, and workshops. Even at the purely geographical dimension, the group as structured its expansion in stages, being the first one the metropolitan zone and its surroundings (San Juan, Bayamón, Carolina, Guaynabo, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Cataño, and Caguas).

Currently, the organization has 300 members, and is growing fast. I firmly believe in the power of organizations, and I have insisted from the beginning that those of us who believe in the equality of fathers and mothers should get organized in order to articulate efficiently our efforts. Organizations like Fathers and Families ( in the United States and Amor de Papá ( in South America have been determinant factors in the advancements that the cause of joint custody has had in the recent years. I encourage all to support those groups like Padres Sí Somos that make effort to organize fathers in their struggle for our children.

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