JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Instagram photo of a local father that quickly went viral is gaining even more momentum.
The picture shows the dad in a men’s restroom at a Jacksonville restaurant, squatting on the floor to change his son’s diaper.
It started a debate over whether men’s restrooms should have changing tables, just like women’s restrooms.
Donte Palmer said one of his other children snapped the now-viral picture, and he never expected it to get the attention it has.
Now, he’s hoping to use that attention to create some positive change.
The simple photo that has started a serious conversation has people from coast to coast – including celebrities – weighing in on a topic that’s often overlooked: the lack of changing tables available to fathers in men’s restrooms.
“The support is – it’s phenomenal,” Palmer said. “I mean, dads are like – it’s like when dads come together, it’s like a big teddy bear you get on Valentine’s Day. It’s like, all love, you know?”
Palmer said he’s been overwhelmed by the response to his Instagram post.
He first spoke with News4Jax earlier this week. Since then, he said the conversation has broadened to include much more than just changing tables.
“Fathers, we aren’t highlighted like we should be,” he said. “And I just want to bring that view and that light to us fathers, because we do matter and we do exist, and we’re willing to do more than just provide and protect.”
Palmer said the broader issue is about fathers being treated as equals to mothers, and sharing the responsibilities when it comes to parenting.
He, and others like him, are now starting a movement they call “Squat for Change.”
They’re hoping it brings attention to what he said is a big need for changing tables in men’s restrooms.
Palmer said it’s a worthwhile cause that deserves the attention it’s now getting.
“Regardless of race, regardless of size, or regardless of financial status, you know, we are fathers at the end of the day, and we will do anything to protect and to nurture our babies.”
Palmer pointed out that this movement isn’t just for dads.
He encourages mothers to get involved and help push for change, too.