Tuesday, March 30, 2010

---The Reason is Worth the ‘Weight’

Racine County – March 9, 2010 – Each day, for a few hours of business as usual at the Racine County Courthouse, a lone man walks slowly, painfully, taking periodic breaks during his four block route only to reposition the heavy weight he bears upon his shoulders.

Ricardo Martinez is a father. Not unlike many fathers in the 21st century, he is divorced and a father who relishes what little time he is allowed to spend with his children, yet he aches for more.

Although the court has given Martinez ‘joint custody’ of his six and seven-year-old sons, that doesn’t mean he actually gets them fifty-percent of the time. What it really means is that he sees his boys Wednesdays and the occasional weekends, an amount of time he says is not nearly enough.

Martinez adds, “I'd rather be at home with my sons enjoying them," he said. "I've already missed ... years of their lives." That's why he walks; bearing a 12-foot wooden cross - Similarly to that of Jesus Christ of the Christian faith.

Martinez claims that he is carrying the cross to call attention to the plight of fathers that deserve to see their children but are vilified in family court. An apparently religious man, Martinez uses the cross to symbolizing his plight: He states; “As people hurt Christ he too has been hurt and as Christ died for his children Martinez too would do anything for his”.

To exemplify his religious and paternal convictions, he also wears a sign which states, "The question isn't what will he do for his children.” “The question is what wouldn't he do for his children."

Admittedly unemployed, Martinez states that while many show support for his cause, there are those that are insensitive and cruel stating he should get a job or a life. One man stopped and shared his similar plight of child custody while others have stated they are glad that he is standing up for his children.

Ricardo Martinez is an activist of sorts; he is and will always be, a father first. While Martinez is well aware that his activism will most certainly not change his case, he walks to create awareness of future fathers and children.