Second annual ‘Black Father Festival’ recognizes fathers who are going above and beyond in Roanoke Valley

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Being a father can be a thankless job, but it’s one for which many people are thankful. On Sunday evening, Black fathers within the Roanoke Valley were celebrated and awarded during the second annual ‘Black Father Festival.’

“We need fathers now more than ever,” said Ryan Bell, Founder & Board President of Black Father Family.

According to Bell, educational movements, economic outcomes, racial matters, and social changes are all reasons that kids growing up in today’s world need their fathers.

“Just go find things to do with your children. They just want you. They want you,” said Bell.

William Hankins is one of many who received an award on Sunday, Aug. 22 for volunteering with children in Roanoke.

“As a Black male, we need to grab a hold of our kids in this community and provide the love they need, and put an ear out there to listen to what they have. A lot of these kids just want attention. They just want to be loved, and they want somebody to listen,” stated Hankins.

Hankins’ father attended Sunday, as well.

“Sometimes, us as Black men get overlooked,” said William Hankins Sr. “To be rewarded for something that you do, especially being a father to your kids is great. I love it.”

According to Hankins Sr., one of the best things he’s passed down to his son is the importance of loving being loved.

“We have had our days where we disagree on things, but we don’t go to bed mad at each other,” Hankins’ father continued.

Speakers addressing the audience shared the role their fathers played and how their presence alone meant the world to them.

“Anybody out there who hasn’t heard it, I just want to tell you that I appreciate you, and I love you for being a father, for showing up in the lives of your children,” expressed Bell. “Continue to do that.”

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