11 Things Men Can Do
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Tony Gonzalez, Vice President Community Development at United Way Fox Cities (right) and his son Anthony (left) were featured in a new Voices of Men campaign.
Contributor: Tony Gonzalez, Vice President of Community Development at United Way Fox Cities
It was 4 years ago that I attended my first Voices of Men (VOM) Breakfast event. I was so moved by it that I came home and talked with my family about it at length for days after. Since then, attending every breakfast and serving on the Voices of Men Leadership Team has given me greater insight into how Man Box Culture (the false, unhealthy masculinity that we’ve been taught in our society) can deter boys and men from Healthy Manhood.
Ben Atherton-Zeman, spokesperson with the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, gave a message to the Fox Cities in 2007 to engage men and boys in the work of ending sexual assault and domestic violence. His message served as a catalyst for the formation of Fox Valley Voices of Men. This year, on November 2, 2016, Ben was an integral part of the powerful VOM Breakfast attended by 1,100 people and broadcast by live stream to at least 31 high schools, colleges and businesses throughout northeast Wisconsin.
Two years ago, I invited my son Anthony to attend the VOM Breakfast with me. Having this experience together has given us the opportunity to embrace healthy manhood. So much so, that he joined Stand Up, a club at Appleton North High School to advance the VOM movement. Anthony is also pictured on poster #10 of the “11 Things Men Can Do” campaign launched at the VOM Breakfast. The poster’s message is “Only with a yes: Practice, teach, and expect that only a willing, sober, and enthusiastic yes means yes. Affirmative consent is required.”
Anthony recently shared with me, “VOM has showed me over these past two years how to be a healthy man and how to know when to speak up. Being a part of this campaign has really strengthened my beliefs on the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault, and what I can do to contribute to this.”
We encourage everyone to make time to visit the VOM website and learn more about Man Box Culture, Healthy Manhood, and how you can be active in this growing movement. Be sure to view the videos that follow each poster with the 11 Things Men Can Do campaign…..they are insightful, compelling and powerful!
Voices of Men inspires me to be an even better husband, father and community person. And it’s focus is upstream, something that I believe is a promising approach to upholding the type of community we all want to live, work and raise our children.