Real Men Cook falls on Father’s and Juneteenth Day


By Chinta Strausberg


With popularity growing, the 22nd annual Real Men Cook celebration will be held on June 19, 2011 at the Chicago State University which ironically falls on two special days—Father’s Day and  Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day when 149-years ago President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and 101-years since Father’s Day began.

With Texas being the last state to find out that slavery had been abolished two-years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, today 39 states and the District of Columbia now recognize Juneteenth and today 149-years later Real Men Cook is being celebrated simultaneously in 13 states across America.

Sporting chef’s hats and aprons, the men prepare their best dishes and actually proudly serve the anxious people attending this event, but they are also helping to particularly change the image of African American fathers so often betrayed in a negative light by the media.

These Real Men Cook events, held on June 19, 2011 in five cities:  Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, shed a more positive light on fathers and their relationships to their families and their communities.

It is the spirit of fatherhood that fills the atmosphere of Real Men Cook activities and the realization that these men can actually cook some very tasty and attractive meals and through their volunteerism they also raise more than $1 million for charity.

Real Men Charities, Inc. is the national not-for-profit organization that presents the Real Men Cook events uses the funds to build and continue programs to honor fathers and father figures, to empower families and perpetuate the memory and spirit of Karega Kofi Moyo and Yvette Moyo-Gillard who founded the annual Father’s Day event.

Real Men Cook  promotes father figures in our communities by showcasing their culinary talents but also spotlights their close ties to their families and communities.

 “I can’t tell you how many times people in smaller cities tell me that their families get together, and the fathers and grandfathers treat them to a feast on Father’s Day, said Real Men Cook co-founder Yvette Moyo-Gillard. She emphasizes the new tradition is not merely about food.

“Ultimately, what the event does is enable others to see the fathers in our community as we see them every day: Nurturing men who work hard to provide for their families and their communities,” she stated.

Agreeing is Mark Fishback, a law clerk who has volunteered for the past 10-years. He is passionate about his involvement with Real Men Cook. “It is a moving Father’s Day experience, nurturing and ministering souls through substance—not fluff and commercialism,” he said. “The food is the draw; but the lasting image of who black men really are and what we really do has the greatest effect.”

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for this year’s 22nd Real Men Cook that ironically falls on Father’ day. It will be held in the Cordell Reed Student Union, Chicago State University, 9501 South Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, Illinois, begins at 1:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m.

There will be a moment of silence/prayer for Daryl Hawks and deceased volunteers. During the program, the Soul of Fatherhood Award will be presented. The Parade of Cooks will be showcased and scheduled is a 2:30 p.m. Ribbon Cutting ceremony: Children’s Zone (Real Men Read and “Let’s Move” – inspired play/exercise, grilled fruits and veggies).

The opening ceremony will start with a joint press conference with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition which is holding its Black Male Crisis Panel (part of the PUSH National conference). PUSH and Real Men Charities will be announcing its partnership to actively address the issues negatively impacting African American men.  Real Men Charities and Real Men Cook are perfect examples of projecting positive images and lifestyles of African American men.

Newly elected Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) will also be one of the host.

Good health is also being promoted by Real Men Cook which is opening its Real Men Charities Health and Wellness Zone.

The WLFM Jazz Band, Infuzion, will perform “Music to Munch By,” followed by the opening of  Teen Zone– a career mentoring and action plan development. Steve Hurley will be on hand with his special musical mixes. 

There will be a “Let’s Move” dance contest and  there will be acknowledgments and giveaways, Children’s and Teen Zone closes. Towards the end of this year’s event, there will be  musical headliner, Nanette Frank who will perform just before 2011 Real Men Cook closes for the year.

Tickets are currently being sold for $20 for adults, $10 for children ($5 additional at the event) –online at:, at the Southside YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island and at the Community Mental Health Council, 8704 S. Constance Avenue.

Everyone is welcome and do bring your entire family.