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Norfolk will address the importance of unity tomorrow in the wake of recent mass and police shootings.
A member of the Virginia Beach Police Department, a school official and domestic violence support specialists will speak about hate and violence in Norfolk Saturday at a free event, “It Takes a Village,” at Military Circle Mall, 880 N. Military Hwy., from noon to 5 p.m. Seko Varner, owner of the Virginia Beach entertainment firm, Positive Vibes Inc., organized the occasion last month after shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, he said.
“There’s a lot of anger there,” Varner said in a phone interview. “I hope this can be a part of the healing. We haven’t had a major problem in Hampton Roads.”
Varner hopes to keep it that way, preventing anything similar from happening in the region. Main speakers include Sergeant William L. Gervin, with the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy recruiting and selection division, Rashard Wright, chief schools officer for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Danielle Boose, a youth and young adult life coach, and Catherine Staton, CEO of MyHelpMyHope Foundation Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating domestic violence.
Vegan and seafood vendors will have food available for purchase.
Sgt. Gervin, who trains new police officers in Virginia Beach, will speak about the power of collaboration, according to Varner. The sergeant invited other police department members, who will attend in support, Varner said.
For Varner, it’s imperative to consider all aspects of society when trying to improve the community.
“We need to look at domestic violence, youth violence, problems with police, look at mental health issues,” he said.
And it’s more than a one-day speaking event, he added. He hopes to spur people into action. America’s history of marches and protests was backed by things like governmental and school policy changes, he said, referring to events like the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
“It might be Boy Scouts, a church, mosque, or synagogue,” Varner said. “It might be with a civic league or neighborhood watch. Just to get people galvanized – we need people engaged.”