Rev. Dr. Najuma Pollard (Courtesy photo)

Father’s Day in the Black community is often met with understandable tension from many sides. We are always grieving the profoundly missing element of men/fathers that make our families and communities whole.

With all the technological advancements of the day, we have yet to resolve the tension and fully heal; and the glaring statistics are always glaring back at us as we seek and fight for change. Nevertheless, we still have so much to be thankful for and I wanted to share this “Open Thank You Letter” for this coming Father’s Day.

To all the men who show-up unapologetically, courageously, intentionally, bravely, ferociously, patiently, graciously, generously, mercifully and lovingly – Thank You! Happy Father’s Day. You are loved, seen, and appreciated! We need you!

For all the non-biological fathers who stepped-up not because you had to, but because you wanted to. Thank You!

To the “Community Dad,” you know him, he is father to all the young men in the ‘hood. Everyone comes to him for advice. We often call him “Pops” or “O.G.” Thank you! Many of our sons would have made horrible mistakes if it wasn’t for your street wisdom that kept them alive to see another day.

To “Coach”, Thank You! You have so many sons and daughters; to NOT acknowledge you on Father’s Day, would be a sin and crime. Coach, you have been known sometimes take on an entire football, basketball, baseball and track team and fill in those gaps that we could never repay you for.

To our corporate and professional men who generously distribute the needed finances, Thank you! We rarely know who you are until you show up at a college graduation and pay off student loans for an entire class and then we find out there is a Robert Smith (billionaire), making it happen for students that are not his own; and there are others like you that ensure other Black and Brown boys and girls have access to opportunity; but the news media won’t run tell that!

Spiritual fathers, Thank You! Your greatest work is the time you spend genuflecting on behalf of God’s people crying aloud and sparing not.

To the fathers of my own children and to my son (who is now an Angel Father), Thank you and Happy Father’s Day!

The Rev. Dr. Najuma Pollard is the senior pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church, 1153 Valencia Street in Los Angeles. To learn more, call (323) 902-7079.