Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!
March 21, 2013 8:51 AM Subscribe
Richmond City Jail hosts a father-daughter dance
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, bringing fathers and daughters together beyond the visitors booth (photos
“I just gotta break this cycle I’m in. I’m just tired of it,” Andre Morman says, adding that he can’t wait to see his youngest daughter. “I haven’t been able to pick her up in nine months.”
He’s been behind bars for the last nine months, this time for failing to pay child support for a 15-year-old daughter from another relationship. He gets out in 88 days. He has nine children total and says he just doesn’t have the money.
Only some of the inmates are allowed to attend the dance. It’s open only to nonviolent offenders; interested fathers are interviewed by a jail deputy and have their criminal histories reviewed. They must also get permission from the child’s mother.
Many of the fathers attend a fatherhood class in preparation for the dance. At one point, Richmond activist and hip-hop artist Joe’i Chancellor
performs her prose-poem Father
for the class. Her own father went to jail when she was nine and didn’t come home until she was 21. The men cry as they reflect on their relationships with their own fathers and daughters.
According to the Washington Post, "the dance at the Richmond jail is less improbable than it sounds: Historically, the father-daughter dances have been used to help American families reunite. They became widespread in the U.S. after WWII as a way to reintegrate men into family life." [I was unable to find a citation] It’s too early to know whether this dance will have a lasting impact, but for Richmond City Sheriff C.T. Woody
, it’s a start.