Kids without Fathers Rally: Get to Know the Man Behind the Sign

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) - Some of you driving through downtown may have noticed some peaceful protesters standing at the corner of Carey Ave. and W. 20th St. today, June 17. Arthur Cook and his friend Michael have been holding up protesting signs since 11 a.m. in honor of National Fatherless Day. "We are calling on all fathers to place a pair of work boots or shoes along the edge of the sidewalk surrounding the courthouse," Arthur Cook, Wyoming Parental Rights Activist, said. "This is to represent how many fathers have been reduced to a paycheck, but are not allowed to be present in their children's lives." Fourteen pairs of shoes were lined along the sidewalk, each with a written note inside with the stories from fathers in the community. *h/t Arthur Cook and his son. h/t: Wyoming Parental Rights/Pitchengine Communities* *Arthur Cook's Story:* *"Several years ago, I went through a very bad divorce and immediately that was the first thing that was taken away from me, was my son. It was parental alienation. Children need both parents. After I went through it, and I represented myself throughout the divorce for the most part, I had an attorney reviewing things and helping me out at different court dates when I needed somebody to step in, but in the end I ended up with less than State standard visitation because I couldn't afford better, I couldn't afford more, I was representing myself. I didn't know then what I know now about the system...The Access to Justice Program, and being able to file motions on your behalf, and things of that nature. So once I started learning more about it, I thought, 'no parent should have to go through what I went through by themselves and watch their child be hurt through the process.' Every situation is unique, so there may be those parents that are not fit to be in their children's lives, but that doesn't mean we're all that way. Parental alienation is an epidemic, it's happening everywhere. It shouldn't cost thousands and thousands of dollars to see your own children, when the other parent is using the child as a pawn against you. I'm not a men's rights activist, I'm a children's rights enthusiast. If I could help one person, if I could help one dad from signing away his rights to be with his kids, that's what I'm here for. T**here's mothers that go through this too, and I've helped many women who have been in this exact same situation, it goes both ways, so I'm here to help."* Cook says his son was 5-years-old when the divorce happened. *"Initially, I had eight hours of visitation per week. At 5-years-old, I would drop him back off with his mom, he would kick and scream...he's 5-years-old, he doesn't know what's going on, he doesn't know when he's going to see his dad kid should ever have to feel that way just because mom is mad at dad because he wants a divorce."* *"In a perfect world, couples would stay together forever and they'd have happy families, but in today's world, it's just not reality anymore unfortunately. Sometimes people need to separate." * *"There was a paramedic here this morning who had been married for 19 years and had three kids together, and now he's going through the same thing; custody dispute, visitation dispute...he's fit enough to serve his community, go out and help our kids if they're in an accident, but can't see his own kids. Where's the justice? Where's the equality? I'm here so these parents know they aren't alone."* Cook says he now has a joint custody situation with his son, a 50/50 legal.* "I had to fight for him and I haven't stopped. Now I'm standing for everybody else who can't do it."* Wyoming's 2nd Annual National Fatherless Day Rally will go until 4 p.m., June 17, in front of the courthouse, 309 W. 20th St., for fathers to share their story. *​Photos: Pitchengine Communities* #shortgo #news