Family patriarchs will take center stage at the 16th Annual Honoring Unsung Fathers (H.U.F) Awards and Scholarship Brunch on Sunday, June 17, at the Long Beach Hilton Hotel.
Sponsored by the Mablean Ephriam Foundation, the event recognizes Southern California fathers who play a vital role in all aspects of their children’s upbringing.
Ephriam, a former Los Angeles prosecuting attorney, is well known for leading the popular TV programs “Divorce Court” and “Justice with Judge Mablean.” In March, she and her daughter, Taj Paxton, made history by becoming the first African American mother/daughter to earn dual Daytime Emmy nominations.
An author and philanthropist, she created the Mablean Ephriam Foundation to strengthen families, educate minds, financially empower the residents of the impoverished communities of Los Angeles County. The H.U.F Awards and Scholarship Brunch is one of the non-profit’s signature events.
“Very few organizations spend time honoring fathers. In the nation-at-large, there’s not a big emphasis on Father’s Day. There’s not the sales or TV commercials like there are for Mother’s Day,” explained Ephriam.
“We want to send a message that you should honor your father and that there are African American fathers who are doing what they are supposed to do. They are not all deadbeat dads.”
Seven recipients, who were nominated by family, friends or colleagues, will be honored in one of five categories. The categories are “Solo Warrior” (a father who never married the child’s mother and is the primary custodial parent), “Love Cares” (a married father, living in the home), “Fatherhood Forever” (a divorced father who divorced the mother, not the children), the “Village Dad” ( a non-biological father who stepped into the shoes of the father), and the “Loving Legacy” (an elderly father, the role model for all other fathers). None of the honorees have a history of domestic violence or non-payment of child support.
Describing the attributes of some of the honorees, Ephriam said, “My ‘Solo Warrior,’ the primary caretaker of three children, arranged his work schedule to care for them. He prepares all of their meals, combs their hair and dresses them, and drives them to school and picks them up. And he’s a young man – only 35-years-old!”
The “Living Legend” honoree, has been married 53 years to the same woman and is the father of 13 children.
“All of his children say that he is the best father, grandfather and great grandfather,” said Ephriam. “He is active in his church, active in his community and is just the epitome of fatherhood. He also mentors other children in the community.”
She also highlighted the tenacity of the 15 scholarship recipients, which are comprised of high school graduates, nursing students and adults between the ages of 25-to-40 who are entering or continuing their college education.
“These children have excelled. I have a young man who is homeless. His family lived in their car and slept on the streets. But despite all of that, he attended school and got good grades and has been accepted to college,” said Ephriam.
“Another young man moved with his family from place to place, but he turned to football and received a college scholarship to San Jose State University. These children are doing well in school and are just determined to succeed against all odds,” she noted.
In addition to saluting the honorees, the program will include an all-you-can-eat brunch, entertainment by award-winning artist Vicki Winans and saxophonist Mike Phillips, and comedian Michael Colyer serving as emcee.
Emphasizing one of her main goals in presenting the event, Ephriam said, “I want attendees to take away a positive message about our fathers. If you don’t have a positive relationship with your father, we encourage you to develop one.
“Hopefully, any fathers attending who are slacking in some areas will be encouraged to do more for their children. We want children to learn to pay homage to their fathers as well as their mothers.”
For tickets to the H.U.F Awards and Scholarship Brunch, call (323) 445-6669.