‘We’ve got to step up’: Md. Gov. Moore calls on fathers to help end youth violence

Youth crime is on the rise in the D.C. region and some Maryland officials say that fathers could play a key role in preventing violence.

As police departments and state attorney’s offices work to deal with this increase in young people committing crimes, hundreds gathered on Sunday to focus on fatherhood as a possible solution.

Study after study shows that having an active father figure around benefits kids as well as the communities they live in.

“We know by the data that fatherhood presence can have a real impact on public safety in terms of our young people, increase academic achievement and help with mental and physical health,” said Prince George’s County At-Large Council member Mel Franklin

Franklin hosted the “1000 Fathers Rally for Peace” at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on Sunday afternoon. The council member said that while fatherhood is a community issue, the government can help men help their kids. 

“It’s a challenging one because you can’t legislate good fatherhood, but what you can do is legislate good supports [for fathers],” Franklin said.

That means job support and mental health services, according to Franklin.

“A lot of times, men are encouraged not to seek help because it’s seen as weakness — that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Franklin said.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore agreed.

“It’s about shared accountability,” Moore said. “It’s up to each and every one of us to build a stronger community and to build stronger boys who become strong men. We’ve got to step up and do the work ourselves.”

But until youth violence is reduced, the Maryland Governor reiterated that violent offenders need to be stopped.

“We have to make sure people are held accountable for their actions,” Moore said. “[If] we have someone who has multiple violent offenses, there has to be a measure of accountability. We aren’t going to have a society where people are going to do whatever they want to do.”

Despite the current rise in youth violence, Franklin said he remains hopeful.

“[You] turn around enough young people one at a time and you’ll have an impact on the youth,” Franklin said.

At the event, Franklin asked men to sign up to become a 1000 Fathers Rally Mentor where they’d be connected with a tutoring and mentoring program to help a young person in their community. 

Men interested in signing up to become a mentor can fill out the form online.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is a reporter and the creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “DMV Download.” The podcast debuted in 2022. On the show, Garrett takes a weekly look at the biggest stories and ideas in the D.C. region.

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