VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The day after the shooting death of a 10-year-old Franklin boy, Franklin native, pastor, and Virginia Beach NAACP president Eric Majette is devastated.
“To see a ten-year-old shot and killed it is absolutely unacceptable,” Majette said in an interview in the Town Center area of Virginia Beach. “All sorts of emotions ran through me. What do we need to do to stop this violence?”
Small towns and cities across the country, Majette said, are facing a mental health crisis. The genesis of the crisis, according to this Franklin native, is the decades-long disintegration of family and community values.
“Lack of respect and lack of love, where did the love go,” Majette said. “Forgiveness, we lost everything that we believed in.”
Majette, a product of the 1960s and 70s, reflected on the escalation in violence in a nation that now has more guns than people.
“You had issues, but you never thought about shooting someone,” said Majette, who is the grandfather of two boys.
Help is on the horizon. Beginning Sept. 8, the 3rd annual Riverfront Soul Festival will deliver services to a community where hearts and health are broken.
“You’ll be able to come and get medical checkups free,” Majette said. “Mental health sessions [will also be offered]. We are going to be dealing with diabetes, dealing (with) cardiovascular [disease], high blood pressure… also financial literacy.”
This is pastor Majette’s urgent call to take back the community.
“Let’s get counselors engaged; let’s get mental health[professionals] providing some kind of community service during this call to action,” Majette said. “This is a critical time in that community.”