Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Something broke inside Kasai Guthrie when his father returned to the Philadelphia area. He was closer, sure – much closer to Kasai's Newark home than when he lived in Florida, where he had moved when Kasai was 4 years old.
For years, Kasai had been told his father couldn't see him often because of that distance. Five states were between Delaware and Florida.
But now there would be just one borderline, only about 35 miles door to door, and Kasai was psyched. He knew how things would go. His father would come to his basketball
But it didn't happen. Kasai was not seeing his father any more than when he lived five states away. He was crushed.
The strong, confident Kasai, who aced almost all of his classes, stood as a leader among his peers, and excelled in basketball, started to disappear. A powerful depression descended upon him. He didn't want to get up in the morning. And anger broke out in ways that left his mother stunned.
"He plummeted into someone we didn't know," she said. "Cursing out teachers? What? Bringing home F's? What? What just happened?"
It's what happened next that changed Kasai's world and launched a mission that he hopes could change the world for other kids who grew up without their fathers.
He calls it "We Need Our Fathers" and it has been the focus of
Kasai Guthrie, now a 17-year-old junior at Glasgow High School, is coming back.
Kasai's father, William Guthrie, knew nothing of this trouble. The former International Boxing Federation light heavyweight world champion (1997) stayed in touch with his son – one of 12 children (four boys, eight girls) he fathered over the years. They spent time together in the summers and had periodic visits. But he had no clue that his son wanted more.
Truth be told, William Guthrie had never known the kind of father Kasai was looking for either. He loved the two men who held the title in his life – his biological father, who was a junkie, and his stepfather, who was a hard worker and reliable, but also a junkie until he beat heroin and became an alcoholic. Both now are dead.