As a black man, Sean Williams would regularly receive “good dad” compliments when he toted his baby daughter around while running errands in a predominantly white area of Long Island. When he realized they were fueled by the stereotype of black dads being absent from child-rearing, he decided to do something to change that perception.
“I spoke with my friends who are all active black dads and asked them if they had similar experiences,” Williams told The Washington Post. “The answer was yes.”
In fact, according to a 2013 study by the National Center for Health Statistics, black fathers are far from absent. They are more likely to bathe, dress, or diaper their kids daily — as well as to eat daily meals with their children — than their Hispanic or white counterparts.
Williams launched The Dad Gang Instagram account to change negative stereotypes of black fatherhood. The account has garnered a large following of over 86 thousand, and now supports a website and events, like their nationwide Strollin’ With the Homies tour, launched last June.
“The purpose of the stroll was to visually demonstrate the strength of black fatherhood. I don’t think anyone has seen black dads congregate and connect on such a large scale like that,” Williams told The Washington Post. “It became a real movement after that.”
This Father’s Day, they are organizing a peaceful march against social injustice for dads and their children. The march begins at the National Museum of African American History in Washington D.C. with a rally and guest speakers and ends at the Black Lives Matter Plaza. At its core, The Dad Gang is a community of dads that celebrate strong father/child relationships by sharing photos of uplifting, real dad moments, parenting tips, and social events.
“I hope it sticks in the minds of those who thought we were MIA … that despite what the world says, despite the stereotypes that are out there, we are dad goals.”