V. Kuroji Patrick
Silver Spring, Maryland
Illustrator and co-publisher of the children’s book, "This Milk Tastes Good!" about breastfeeding, which also features an African American family, V. Kuroji Patrick is a father and community activist who educates others, from expectant teenage parents to healthcare providers about the benefits of breastfeeding. Mr. Patrick has been asked to work with organizations like the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in developing short videos that address ways to involve fathers more in the breastfeeding process. He has traveled across the country presenting workshops that speak towards supporting and promoting breastfeeding in communities where statistics show a low percentage of breastfeeding families. In February of this year, Kuroji was awarded the Liberated Muses' 'heART' award, an award that recognizes a member of the community who has used their creative talents to uplift the community while supporting the transformation of spaces into art places.
April 17, 2013 - the US Surgeon General encouraged African American moms to breastfeed by busting the myth that black fathers become jealous when mothers nurse. Long before this, one dad was already in the community doing the same thing and more.
Two adolescents stare confused as they notice a father wearing an "I heart BF-ing" t-shirt. The dad asks, "Tell me what it means." After a few guesses the dad explains, "It means I love breastfeeding." This generates an informative dialogue. He recites part of his breastfeeding rap song before passing along his business cards.
As he continues on his journey he passes by a few young mothers. He congratulates them and asks if they are nursing. One mom says she tried the other says in disgust. He begins to explain the benefits of breastfeeding while acknowledging the challenges.
He reaches his destination; a local high school. Once the participants arrive he introduces himself to the parenting class. "Good morning! I am V. Kuroji Patrick author and illustrator of the children's book 'This Milk Tastes Good." He explains words such as latch and colostrum, ways to include fathers, and like the surgeon general dispels myths.
Later, while eating lunch he starts to draw a new cartoon for his breastfeeding comic strip "Flavored Milk" that announces his recent award for community art activist of the year. He looks up to see a mom and daughter. "Aren't you the breastfeeding guy", the girl asks. "From the Great Nurse In in DC", the mother adds. He grins with gratitude and replies, "I'm V. Kuroji Patrick, but I go by the breastfeeding guy too." They laugh.
This is life and work of a father, a true community activist who passionately educates others about breastfeeding. This is why I nominate Mr. Patrick.