Friday, May 24, 2024

Putting Fatherhood on HOLD!

Las Vegas has one of the nation’s highest rates of unwanted teen pregnancy, with African-American and Latino youth too often chief among those left on the margins by early parenthood. However, some young men of color are making a conscious decision to delay fatherhood, so they can freely pursue their dreams before even considering the prospect of starting families. Two of them, both 17-year-olds playing in Coach Gene Tate’s Junior Giants baseball organization, recently explained to Las Vegas Black Image why they are taking such a proactive stance.

Azaan Ali

Azaan Ali: “I currently attend A-Tech High School because I want to have a higher education if my plans to play in Major League Baseball don’t work out. I haven’t witnessed any of my male friends becoming fathers in their teens, but I have seen some young girls at school become mothers. The way I avoid becoming a father too soon is to think about my long-term goals, and consider how becoming a father in my teens — or before I am mentally and financially prepared — will affect my dreams. I don’t have a job, or any money coming in, so my life would be drastically affected. I keep myself busy with playing sports and doing many other things. I want to be a good father — when the time is right and I have completed my higher educational plans. But right now, I stay away from it.”

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson: “I love living in Las Vegas and playing baseball. I attend West Prep High School, and my favorite subject in school is government; I find learning about laws interesting and I look forward to going to college. I am aware of one of my friends who just became a father. I also have a girlfriend, but I avoid the situation of becoming a young father by staying busy with sports. I play baseball, but when our team isn’t meeting, I will play basketball. I keep myself occupied, because I see many of my friends becoming fathers who are just teenagers. I am not thinking about becoming a father until I am 25 and have completed college and my career pursuits.”

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