Daddy Stroller Social Club promotes fatherhood and brotherhood

Studies have shown, despite stereotypes, resident Black fathers tend to be more involved in child care than their White or Latino counterparts.
A dad from the Dallas Stroller Club pushing a stroller with his two sons
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 14, 2024

For a couple hours, a couple times a month, you can find dozens of Dallas dads pushing, carrying and sometimes chasing their kids, all in pursuit of finding a community.

Daddy Stroller Social Club was the vision of Kalvin Bridgewater, who says he wanted to give himself something his father never had.

"Our dads didn't have this community, so growing up, they just went off of what they were taught," Bridgewater said.

When Bridgewater's daughter was born, he says his wife didn't feel like herself — which helped him realize, neither did he.

"The lady told her that, 'Hey, I think you're experiencing postpartum depression.' As she's giving these answers, and as they ask these questions, I'm like, dang, think I'm kind of going through the same thing," Bridgewater said.

Bridgewater said while his wife was crying a lot and didn't want to be touched — he gained 60 pounds and watched his health decline.

Advice from their doula prompted Bridgewater to call some friends — more specifically, dads like him.

The stroller strides, and the other dads who participated, became a staple in Bridgewater's life. Finding a community of men dealing with similar issues helped him turn his health around.

Melchizebek Tony has been doing the stroller strides since 2021.

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"What drew me in was the brotherhood, just letting people know it's gonna be okay. Like, 'Hey, man, like, don't worry about that.' Or you're going through that stage right now, or that's nothing man. What until you get to this stage right here!'"

Studies have shown, despite stereotypes, resident Black fathers tend to be more involved in child care than their White or Latino counterparts.

And even for those who don't live with their children, Black fathers also "shared responsibilities more frequently and displayed more effective coparenting."

Tony says, "Like, oh no, we everyday dads over here. Like, we wake up in the morning, put them to bed, put them to sleep."

Bridgewater adds, "We kind of grew up seeing your mom doing everything. You saw your dad going to work. Now it's like you see your dad going to work and you see your dad pushing these strollers. You see your dad change these diapers."

Over the last year, the group has grown significantly, boasting 150 dads at its last stride — including Damani Anderson.

"We came from an hour away. We trucking with these two baby girls," Anderson said.

Anderson, a family therapist, says this community is particularly important for fathers.

"Society portrays us to, we have to do things independently. We have to get through life on our own. We can't struggle. We can't have any issues. So having that community, having that place, to be able to process, to be able to relate with like-minded individuals is very important," Anderson said.

Bridgewater says he hopes to expand this group outside of Texas and the country.

"Oh, I hope that we can kind of expand throughout the world," Bridgewater said.

Bridgewater adds he's going to start by creating chapters in Houston and Atlanta in the coming months.