Southeast Raleigh pastors issue call to action following tragedy: 'We need compassion, mentorship'

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, December 1, 2023
Southeast Raleigh pastors issue call to action following tragedy
"We need some love. We need some compassion. We need some care."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Pastor Mitchell Summerfield first heard of the tragedy that took place Monday afternoon at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, he was compelled to act. The school is just one block away from his church, Word of God Fellowship Church.

"My job is to instruct, to teach, and to encourage," said Summerfield. "I think there's accountability. There's mentorship that needs to be implemented. The presence of strong male role models is needed."

It's been a devastating week for southeast Raleigh. Many people are still trying to wrap their minds around what unfolded there earlier this week.

Summerfield and other Black pastors in the community have plans to wrap their arms around this hurting community. Pastor Mark Gibson is on board with this effort. He said he believes part of the problem is society has gotten away from the adage of it takes a village to raise a child.

"We need some love. We need some compassion. We need some care," said Pastor Mark Gibson from Redeeming Love Missionary Baptist Church. "Particularly in the African American community where everybody on the street was responsible for everyone's kids. Now we've become so protective. No one can talk to them."

With male mentorship, the pastors believe violence would be minimized. The thought is the students would pick up conflict resolution skills and a level of emotional intelligence.

"Because of the influences around us, it kind of made it the norm to shoulder it all while on the inside we're breaking and crumbling," said pastor and community organizer Delon Fletcher.

This call for healing aims to reunite faith leaders with the community through prayer and mentorship. It is something they believe is needed now more than ever.

MarQus Johnson's son attends Southeast Raleigh Magnet and he's had mixed emotions about his son returning to school.

In the past few days, he's been equipping his son with tools to help develop his emotional intelligence.

"The main thing is control your emotions. Don't allow someone to dictate and control how you move," said Johnson.