by Cesca Janece Waterfield
Next week, families will get a boost of support with the celebration of Black Marriage Day at East District Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Ave. The day-long series of workshops will provide information and skills training for the kind of healthy relationships that support marriages, families and the community. It’s part of a Washington D.C.-based foundation called Wedded Bliss, established by Nisa Muhammad. Sharing evidence that strong marriages are more likely to provide nurturing environments for children and parents, higher incomes and better health, Black Marriage Day currently involves 300 cities nationally just seven years after its launch.
D.C.-based Program Director Jamil Muhammad says, “The [program’s] growth is attributable to the fact that the call for black marriage and strong black families resounds because the need for those is so great. Black families must be restored, and black marriage goes a long way in that direction.”
The theme this year is “First Comes Love: Guiding Our Youth to Marriage,” developed by Nisa. Richmond workshops are designed to educate and empower married and unmarried couples and families as well as singles, teens and children.
Adia Blackmon, whose husband Kindu is also involved, led local organization of Black Marriage Day. Adia says it’s probably not too early to talk to your children about marriage: “I went to the Smart Marriages conference in Georgia a few years ago,” she recalls. “The first thing that they said to us is that the age people should start talking to children about marriage is third or fourth grade. By that point, they’re already getting ideas about sexuality and relationships. To talk to them about what their ideas of family are at that age is very important. The same goes for the teens.”
The event is free and topics include blended families, talking to your children about sex, credit and home ownership, partnered yoga and courses for teens. Facilitators represent Camp Diva, Alliance Home Mortgage, Rejuvenation Space, P.A.T.H, Riverview Baptist Church, Richmond Kwanzaa Kollective and more.
With one strong black family in the White House, Jamil says there remains work to be done. “We have to add some substance to symbol,” he urges. “The substance of black marriage as a whole is not good. We need to improve it by concentrating and focusing on bringing black marriage to the fore. Why shouldn’t we be married when marriage is the greatest indicator of success and growth in individuals and families? Specifically, we can see that married men live longer. Married women are more safe from domestic violence. Children of married two-parent households go further in school and get better grades. Married people make more money. When all those things are taking place, we just have to enclose our grasp around it and make it ours.”
March 28, 12 noon to 5 pm, East District Family Resource Center, 2405 Jefferson Ave. Register by calling Adia Blackmon at 304-4154 or visit www.blackwomanpress.com for more information.