Parents' Day Celebrated in New York

New York, USA - New York City Council members, community leaders, local pastors, and musicians gathered in the art gallery of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., State Office Building in Harlem on July 20 to honor the nine New York winners of the 19th Annual Parents' Day awards, all local parents who had made heroic efforts to nurture their children and the children of others.

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Parents’ Day, observed on the fourth Sunday of July, was first designated a US holiday in 1994 when then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the unanimous resolution of both houses of Congress. Over the years, celebrations small and large have been held on Capitol Hill and in public and private facilities throughout the United States.

This year’s awardees included several families who had become heroes to many other people’s children by becoming foster and adoptive parents, as well as a number of single parents—both fathers and mothers—who had raised their children alone against great odds.

The Uptown P.L.A.Y.E.R.S. Bronx-based high school step team, performed a lively dance routine affirming their collective determination to avoid risky behaviors in preparation for becoming good parents themselves. The peer-education performance group, whose name represents “Participating in the Lives Among Youth to Educate and Restore Society,” according to manager, Marcus Knight, will be featured in the upcoming movie, The River of Thunderment.

Knight, who was an honoree at Parents' Day last year, said with his two-year-old daughter sitting on his shoulders: “I am both a single parent and a church-goer, and I think it’s good to recognize conscientious parents trying to raise their children as opposed to leaving it up to the school system or TV as surrogate baby sitters.”

Messages of support were offered on behalf of New York City Council majority leader Inez Dickens and New York Assemblyman Keith Wright. Other speakers included UPF Communications Director Michael Balcomb, who spoke of efforts to introduce Parents' Day at the United Nations, and Rev. Dr. Luonne Rouse, a United Methodist pastor and psychotherapist, who spoke of the importance of strong marriages and families to create the good society.

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