Kareem Chadly’s Fatherhood Work Leads to First in Series of ‘Dad Chats’

The late Damani Chadly and his father Kareem. (Kareem Chadly)

In December of 2018, former 106.1 KMEL on-air personality Kareem “Radio Reem” Chadly’s son Damani Chadly was shot and killed in Fremont.

Since then, Kareem has stepped away from the world of media production to spend time with close family and travel the world. This weekend, Kareem is organizing his first public-facing event since the passing of his son.

On Friday at 6pm, Dads Evoking Change, the nonprofit Kareem founded just days after his son’s death— which he made to honor Damani Elijah Chadly by pulling from his son’s initials, is holding the first of its planned monthly seminars.

Kareem says the purpose of the organization is to give assistance, counseling and legal information to fathers through guest presentations from experts in given fields.

This week’s guest will be East Bay attorney Norah Alyami of Family Law Advocates Group PC. And will be hosted by Jason Seals, Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at Merritt College.

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Kareem says it’s important to have someone in Norah’s line of work speak with fathers who are experiencing legal issues, as it’s something he wishes he had while dealing with the custody and child support system when his son was a child.

Kareem and Damani over the years.
Kareem and Damani over the years. (Kareem Chadly)

“It was the most soul-crushing experience,” Kareem says looking back at the time spent in and out of court. “To have this room full of people who don’t know my son from the next kid, to tell me what’s right for my son. It didn’t make sense.”

Kareem says he’d see father after father walk into the courtroom and leave with a similar sentiment. He believes that although at the time he had physical custody of his son, the court still looked at him, and other Black men, as stereotypes—not as fathers involved in their children’s lives.

Kareem says, “All these systems were set up in the ’70s—I get it. But we’re dealing with a family structure that has changed.”

Kareem points to research that shows African American men’s involvement in their children’s lives. Combined with the current wave of challenges to government systems, it’s now the perfect time to have this conversation.

“My life has turned to really wanting to fight for these rights, and affect legislation as it relates to child custody and child support," says Kareem.

“If I can help one father, I’ll feel good.”

More details about Friday’s event here.