DISPLAYS OF CHARACTER

Discover our new Exhibit: Displays of Character!

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Meet the WRD Campaign Ambassadors displayed in the Exhibit


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Ambassador John Laing



John Laing

John Laing

National Child Welfare Consultant, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Senior Staff and Co-Chair of the DCF Family Advisory Committee


“Modeling healthy non-violent relationships is the most important thing men can do to promote healthy masculinity.”


John Laing is a community leader and national expert on strengthening families and fatherhood. John leads by example: he lives in the Boston area with his wife of 22 years Maritza, has 5 children and 6 grandchildren, and has mentored hundreds of men to create strong families and communities.

John Laing John’s dedication to families is reflected in his extensive work history with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) where he provides regular consultation on family issues to state level managers and train social workers to better engage families. He also serves on The Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren, a member of the DCF Commissioner’s senior leadership team, and as a member of the DCF Statewide Advisory Council. In Boston, he facilitates Nurturing Father's Programs to help parents learn to keep their families safe and healthy.

A graduate of Brandeis University, John’s expertise on family issues has been recognized nationally he received the 2010 Casey Excellence for Children Award and has had his work published, including the articles “Reflection of a Birth Father” and “MA Commissioner Embraces Father and Fatherhood.”

John Laing From the minute he heard about the WRD campaign, John began actively to promote healthy masculinities. As someone married to a survivor of domestic violence, John says he discovered that he “could not be a silent bystander” and has “a story to tell about how domestic violence can impact families and to take the responsibility along with other men to say that domestic violence is not okay. I cannot refrain from engaging other men in this work knowing how deeply domestic violence had impacted my own family.”

“Modeling healthy non-violent relationships is the most important thing men can do to promote healthy masculinity,” he believes. He notes that at a very young age, many boys are trained in a masculinity that comes with “privilege and entitlement” but is lacking in the areas of “nurturing, expressing emotion, sensitivity, and supportiveness.” For him, healthy masculinity means promoting the latter while checking the former. John would like to see children in early elementary school shown what healthy relationships look like so that they can carry those values as they get older.

“One of the things I did as an ambassador was to incorporate the White Ribbon Pledge into the annual event “Father Family Fun Day,” John explains. He finds that the kind of conversations that can be generated with a large group of men gathered around their shared identity as fathers is an invaluable component of “focused and intentional” promotion of healthy masculinities. The development of the Father Family Fun Day affords an opportunity to bring the promotion of the WRD campaign values in the context of fatherhood work. He believes that healthy fatherhood advocates and domestic violence prevention workers can effectively “work together to holistically promote safer and healthier relationships, more so than they can in isolation.”

He sees “every day as an opportunity to deepen and further this work.” He would like to encourage fellow Ambassadors to “engage their communities” and to “provide help and support without stigmatizing victims or perpetrators. Violence is learned and can be unlearned.” For John, to fully address the issue of violence against women, law enforcement officials, educators, advocates, and politicians need to work together and support one another to “see the kind of results we’re looking for.”