Who would think that a photo expressing frustration would become a movement for fathers worldwide? Donte Palmer definitely did not. When the Philadelphia native posted a photo of the hassle that he had to go through to change his toddlers’ diaper in a public restroom, he had no idea that the image would go viral and gain support from news networks, politicians, celebrities, and fathers from all corners of the world. Donte created the #SQUATFORCHANGE hashtag and the rest is a testament to what standing up (or squatting) can do to envoke change.
What do you do for a career?
(Laughing) I found myself being a stay at home Dad this past week. Which isn’t a bad thing but I learned that jealousy is a real emotion and unfortunately my job was cut short due to a principal who looked at me as an opportunity to gain finances and not as a solution to assist the population of students we served. I look at the silver lining in every situation so with being fired It gave me the opportunity to become a full-time advocate for fathers. So I’ll charge on until change happens!
You started the SQUAT FOR CHANGE movement. What drove you to do this?
Honestly, I didn’t think it would grow to a platform with so much notice. I posted the viral picture because of what my wife said: “It’s sad how us mothers don’t have to create or come up with innovative ways to change our babies and you men do”. That is what lead me to post the picture weeks later and it grabbed the attention of fathers across the world. It is an issue that parents across the globe have encountered and its an issue I am willing to fight for until change happens. So squat for change was created to finally speak up for us parents that lack resources when it comes to providing for our children.
What do you feel is the biggest joy in being a dad?
The look on your 12 year olds face when a German newspaper calls him a world known photographer, the smile your 7-year-old creates when he wants to be a YouTube blogger and says “Dad knows all the news stations”, and when state and local representatives call and say they will consider passing a bill naming it “Liam’s Law” after the baby. This is what gives me joy, Dad being able to create a legacy for his children. This platform can die today and I’ll be content that my boys found JOY in this coverage.
You’re also a film director. Any plans on that in the future?
This is a tough question, my life has taken a major turn and I’ve been trying to piece everything together in my state of living now. Film is very important to my life and I believe it will manifest in some degree with the platform I have now. A few ideas have come into play that I want to turn into a action but just need the right crew to help me push it.
As a Black man, what does it mean for you raising 3 black boys?
It’s SCARY! I pray with my boys every morning before they go to school/daycare. The world has painted us in a negative light and it’s nerve wrecking not knowing if tomorrow is the last day we will be able to physically hug each other. Being a father means the world to me and I’ll do everything in my strength to protect my children. Sitting down with your children is a must but it’s sad that I have to teach them guidelines to keep their lives. Why should a father ever have to tell his son not to jog in the neighborhood at nights wearing a hoodie or when the cops get behind you stay quiet and look straight ahead. This shouldn’t be the conversation with children but this is our reality and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them equipped. Raising three boys is very challenging but with God loves and wisdom we will be ok.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
To be that perfect husband and father to my family. I don’t think I’ll ever be perfect but to keep that as a goal keeps me pushing forward. The job, the money, the cars will come but what are the material things if you don’t have anyone to share it with. So I wake up every morning trying to seek ways on how to out serve my wife.
It’s about learning my wife, her likes/dislikes. How can I out serve her today? That’s the question I ask myself every day. But also allowing her to out serve me and that is where balance comes into motion. Doing things equally in our relationship works for us and we encourage everyone to tap into that way of living. funny thing, my wife would probably divorce me if I didn’t do my share of cooking and cleaning. That is my Goal.. (laughing) I legit only care about making them happy.
To follow Donte on Instagram and his Squat For Change initiative, go to @3boys_1goal