D.C. panel discussion on fatherhood taps celebrity speakers

Former Washington Wizards player Etan Thomas is teaming up with some other big names to stress the importance of fatherhood.

Thomas played 11 successful seasons in the NBA, including 8 with the Washington Wizards, but he says the career he’s most proud of is his role as a father to three young children.

Thomas is the product of a single-parent home, but he says he never used that as a negative. Rather, he says it’s a story he shares in his new book, Fatherhood.

“Everybody has a choice, and that’s the main thing that I want to stress. No matter what situation you come from you still always have a choice,” he said.

Thomas is holding a panel discussion Thursday night in Northeast, and he’s enlisted some of the biggest names in the community, including Washington Wizards players Trevor Ariza and AJ Price, media stars Roland Martin and Russ Parr and local pastor John K. Jenkins of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden.

“The absence of a father in the life of a child has an impact far beyond what we can explain,” said Pastor John K. Jenkins.

As a father of six, Pastor Jenkins says it’s good, both for culture and society, for all fathers to participate in the lives of their children. He says it’s a message he shares with his own congregation and one he hopes to share with the D.C. community as well.

“Important just to be there,” Pastor Jenkins said. “Be there, be involved, be seen, be present.”

The panel will be held Thursday night, from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., at Greater Mount Calvery Holy Church in Northeast.{ }

For more information, visit{ }