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May I have this dance?

Leslie Brown

Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

We’ve all been there; you know what it’s like to lose hope. In an effort to give inmates hope, of what their life could be, they held a father daughter dance at the facility.

Daughters were able to join their fathers in a magical evening, dressed up and enjoying an evening planned with the purpose of planting hope in some hearts that may be long hardened.

The Federal Detention Center Miami turned a meeting space into a ballroom decked out in a fairy-tale theme. 13 fathers dressed up in suits and tuxedos spent two hours with their daughters without the harshness of uniforms, visiting rooms and prison walls.

They danced, laughed and cried as they remembered the chapters of their daughters’ lives they had missed.

“I haven’t been there for so many special moments,” said inmate Michael Rangel, 40, his eyes welling up. The father of three daughters has been in prison almost three years. “I talk to them and email them all the time, but it’s not the same as being there.”

The inmates can’t change the decisions they made in the past, but the prison and local law enforcement officers hope events like this will inspire them to make better decisions in the future.

“You hope this will be transformational, that this dance gives these fathers something to look forward to,” said Walter T. Richardson, the Miami-Dade Police Department chaplain who delivered the keynote address. “We want the focus not so much on what happened, what brought them here, but what kind of future they can have. Their daughters are their future.”

At UA, we are big on fathers, their importance, and on men being men.
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