Art Alexakis, the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated band Everclear, known for hit songs such as “Father of Mine” and “Santa Monica,” has joined forces with TV news journalist Veronica De La Cruz’s non-profit organization And Then There Were Two in an effort to stem the tide of fatherless homes. Today, 1 out of every 3 children grow up without a father in the home. 29 million American children are growing up fatherless.
And Then There Were Two and Alexakis have partnered up to push a petition entitled “Stand Up, Man Up!” which calls for fathers to step up the plate and be present in their children’s lives. The Change.org petition, posted on Father’s Day, calls not only for responsible parenting, but also for tougher enforcement of child support laws and financial accountability during a woman’s pregnancy. Current legislation in most states leaves expectant mothers shouldering the financial responsibility on their own until after their baby is born.
Alexakis, who was raised by a single mother in a Los Angeles housing project, wants to send the message that fathers are not irrelevant and should step up to the plate in honor of their kids. In an exclusive interview he gave to De La Cruz for Huffington Post, he said “Be a man. Act like a man. I’m not talking about the old school caveman way, I’m talking about like a grown up, being responsible for the consequences of your own actions. If you have children, pay for them. Work with them. Learn how to handle relationships for your children’s sake. Be there, even if you don’t have a lot of money. Pay what you can and work hard. But more importantly, be there for them.”
De La Cruz, who gave birth to son Hartley Eric a few months ago, decided to get on board with the effort after the father of her child left the day she announced her pregnancy. “I was in a year-long committed relationship and he left the day I told him we were expecting,” she said. “My son is now more than 3 months old and has never seen his father, not once.” De La Cruz related her deeply painful personal story in “Without a Father on Father’s Day,” on her Huffington Post blog, also posted on the holiday.
To deal with the pain that came with enduring her pregnancy alone and without support, De La Cruz has recently launched a website and non-profit called And Then There Were Two, dedicated to the strength of single moms left to play the role of both mother and father to their children. The site features a variety of resources, information and community for single mothers.
The “Stand Up, Man Up!” petition and its associated Twitter hash tag #SUMU were created in hopes of raising awareness of the issue and will be circulated throughout the summer months during Everclear’s Summerland Tour. They are on the road with fellow alt-rockers Sponge, Filter and Live. The petition can also be found online at www.StandUpManUp.com.
The social homes for #SUMU are at www.facebook.com/standupmanuppetition and www.twitter.com/sumupetition. Additionally a #SUMU twibbon was created to add to Twitter users’ avatars, the link to make an avatar with a twibbon is http://twibbon.com/Support/stand-up-man-up-sumu.