In 2012, when the United States International Men’s Day Team discovered that Incarcerated Men and Boys were not participating in the global grassroots movement inaugurated by Gender Issues Thought Leader, faculty member in the History Department at University of West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and prolific author Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D., we worked to move Incarcerated Men and Boys into the “International Men’s Day” equation. How? We created the International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative whose leaders are incarcerated souls. These souls plan and facilitate observances of International Men’s Day “behind the wall”.. Over the past eight (8) years, incarcerated males have observed International Men’s Day at a number of American correctional facilities that include, Clinton Correctional Facility, Ulster Correctional Facility, Green Haven Correctional Facility, Bare Hill Correctional Facility, Adirondack Correctional Facility, and State Correctional Institution Greene. Under the leadership of Mr. Carry Greaves, who serves as the National Chair for the United States International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative, observances of International Men’s Day in American correctional facilities take the form of mentoring sessions, atonement programs, and workshops and group discussions on the causative factors and solutions for Fatherlessness, recidivism, the “school-to-prison” pipeline, gun violence, and lack of access to legitimate real-life career and employment opportunities. Mr. Trevor Mattis, has donned the mantle of Pennsylvania Chair, International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative.
Messrs. Greaves and Mattis have respectively prepared a statement in observance of International Men’s Day which is being presented –unedited —below. The United States International Men’s Day Team thanks Messrs. Greaves and Mattis for their leadership.
Mr. Carry Greaves
National Chair, International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative
First and foremost, to all of the International Men’s Day Coordinators and participants, thank you for all you are doing in making our communities and the world a better place.
It is days like these that we recognize just how much you matter. You are an essential element of this day that will live on forever in spite of life’s adversities.
Your dedication, love, and commitment are creating a path in winning this “war” for this and the next generation. Again, we thank you for the invaluable work that you are doing. Forever, we are in gratitude to you
As a community, family, and as a nation, we are going through some very troubling times of mounting political, educational, financial, and health issues. And as we go through these issues we have to find the emotional and mental strength to go forward in these depressing, dark, violent, and sad days
What we are witnessing today is the dissatisfied speaking to the world hoping someone is listening. But our dissatisfaction should never lead to violence of any sort. It should bring together the great minds of our communities where we exchange our ideas, which could give rise to the solutions that the world desperately needs.
This does not mean that we have to compromise ourselves to appease someone else. We need to bring to the table our ideas, our creativity so that we can add to that which can create a healthy and nonviolent world. In doing such we can begin to bond over shared interests and values.
This is why forums such as International Men’s Day are very important and sorely needed in every community, home, and school.
We have to keep in mind that International Men’s Day is not a moment – here today, gone tomorrow – but a movement in the true sense of making our world a better place to live in, which is not the goal, but a way of life for all of us to live.
So today, let’s take a deep breath, pray, meditate, and focus on the things that will add meaning to our lives. Let’s continue to love and respect each other.
We have so much work to do, but let’s not give up. Continue to move forward and we will see the light – the light of love and peace.
Thank you so much to all for allowing me this opportunity. Each and every one of you inspire me to continue in bringing truth to the light.
Mr. Trevor Mattis
Pennsylvania Chair, International Men’s Day “Healing And Repatriation” Initiative
Good Morning. My name is Anton Forde also known as Trevor Mattis, Pennsylvania’s Chair of the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation” Initiative. Thanks for the invitation. My personal experience, 31 years continuous incarceration, has been largely devoid of environments that promote emotional, psychological, and emotional healing. In fact, in my opinion,
almost everything in Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is designed to destroy an inmate’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing. This is evidenced by the culture of physical and psychological abuse inherent among the, mostly white, Correctional Officers. The negative impacts of this carceral state is accepted as a collateral consequence of being incarcerated.
The typical inmate is largely left to overcome the negative impact of incarceration on their own. The result is widespread silent suffering from a sickness virtually invisible to the naked eye. This sickness is papered over by social conditioning that mandates that men must be men, captured in the cliche “Gown men don’t cry”. The visible manifestations of this prevalent disease is seen in the 60% rate of recidivism, substance abuse, and violence.
The solution to this psychological and spiritual endemic will require a radical reimagining of penology. I suggest that the focus of penology should be on the humanity of the inmate and not on their offense, punishment, or incapacitation. Such an approach would promote emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing by default. Unfortunately, I believe that retributive mass incarceration is such a corporate and commercial feature of Pennsylvania, with its associated sociopolitical interests, that the radical change required to end this endemic will never be seriously entertained.
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