The Social Media Ministry of Second Calvary Baptist Church sponsored a social justice forum on September 30 that began with a video showing scenes of social unrest from the 60s to today.
Senior Pastor Dr. Geoffrey Guns charged the participants to open the dialogue on resolving issues affecting the Norfolk community to include unemployment, housing, poverty, crime, and school dropout and retention rates.
The high-powered panel represented various Norfolk government departments: Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood, Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith, Norfolk Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Thornton, Norfolk City Councilwoman Mamie Johnson, Norfolk Vice Mayor Angelia Williams-Graves, Norfolk Circuit Court Judge Jerrauld Jones, NRHA Executive Director John Kownack, and NSU Sociology Professor Dr. Robert Perkins.
“Government plays a vital role in sustaining justice and equity,” Guns explained as he opened the discussion.
“We want to leave here with one or two ideas on improving our community.
“It is the kind of policies that governments make that sometimes promote injustices,” Guns continued.
Each panelist was given an opportunity to speak from their perspective on the challenges their departments face. A question and answer session followed.
Judge Jones, who has served at various levels of government during his lifetime of public service, observed that the common threads among persons adversely affected by societal problems center around two main areas: an inadequate education, especially having poor reading skills, and weak family structures that do not foster and support the healthy development of its members.