Yvette Moyo held the first “Real Men Cook” fundraiser on Father’s Day in 1990 to honor all fathers and father figures on Chicago’s Southside.
“We thought this was an especially important thing to do for families as a Father’s Day tradition, and for those who might not have that father in everyday lives right now. We also wanted to acknowledge and celebrate father figures in the community who they can rely on as role models and mentors,” says Moyo.
“These are the coaches, the ministers, the community leaders, and all men who make sure that no child feels forgotten or unsupported.”
Moyo drew inspiration from a discussion she had with her own blended family, in which she and her husband emphasized to their children that the love and support in their own family would only grow stronger now that their families were combined.
“We called it our ‘bonus family,’ and we wanted to spread that example and tradition of love and service to others, regardless of what the media was portraying,” says Moyo. Now, more than 30 years later, the event is produced by Real Men Charities, Inc., a non-profit which aims to change the way the world views Black men in relationship to their families and communities.
The programming supports health and wellness every day on many levels and is located at The Quarry, which serves as a multipurpose space offering a shared kitchen, office space and gallery featuring the work of Black artists, as well as an amazing event space offering dance shows, yoga, martial arts.
“In this period where we’re taking a deeper look at the social injustices in our communities, we’re learning about the best men we ever knew on the TV, but after they’re gone – after we’ve lost them to gun violence,” says Moyo. “For 33 years, we’ve been bringing positive stories of Black men to the forefront, who are creative, loving, and serving. We celebrate them and are committed to extending the life expectancy of Black men in Chicago.”
Yvette has also made her own contribution to this effort, as the publisher of South Side Drive Magazine: Guide to the Good Life Chicago, which she founded to share the “Good News about Chicago’s Southside and Black culture,” and features stories about art, business, culture, health and entertainment.
To participate in this year’s Real Men Cook event or find out how you can support the non-profit’s mission, visit realmencharitiesinc.org/.
And to find volunteer opportunities in your community, visit www.createthegood.org.
To hear Yvette’s story and more stories like this, subscribe to the “Creating the Good with AARP Illinois” podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.