Before my dad was arrested, he was a constant example of what it meant to not only be a father, but to be a man. Even though he and my mother were never a couple in the traditional sense of the word, he was there for me from day one. I watched the way he was with my sisters and how he always took care of his responsibilities. My dad even helped with my brother who was neither his child or even technically his stepchild.

Growing up in my neighborhood, I saw so many men fail at fatherhood. But, I was always thankful for the example that my father set. Even now, he has never let the distance or his situation hinder him from being the best father.

Anytime I receive compliments about how good of a son or man I am, I always cite that it’s because of the example my father gave. Only a great father could have children be so continually supportive after almost 3 decades of incarceration. The day after my 18th birthday was the day he was taken away from us and also the day that I stepped into manhood.

In these 30yrs, I stumbled a lot especially in the first couple of years, but it was his love that helped me get up and walk the path that I am on now. His example is what inspires me to be a great father and grandfather.


Anthony Underwood is the founder of Celebrities for Justice, son of incarcerated parent and advocate who works to keep celebrities and influencers abreast of the pressing issues surrounding the criminal justice system. He and his siblings started the #FREEWILLIAMUNDERWOOD campaign to help seek clemency for their father, who has been incarcerated for 30 years.