by Jamie Lewis • photo by H.N. James
Author, professor, counselor, mentor and philanthropist: Each of these words describe Eric Capehart. If you ask him, though, he’ll tell you that while he may be all of these, his primary identity is that of an activist. When he sees problems in the world, he will actively do what he can to fix them. The thought of standing idly by while others struggle unnecessarily runs directly counter to his nature.
Having originally pursued a degree in communications — complete with a short stint as a radio personality — Eric graduated and built a small business. He then founded a mentoring organization called ‘All the King’s Men’ which seeks to keep young black men out of the juvenile court system. It was during this effort that he began to see the effects of mental health issues on others and wanted to help. This sent him back to college to begin pursuing a career in psychotherapy.
Eric chose Liberty University for his graduate studies. In 2015, he specifically chose to immerse himself in the LGBTQ+ community. That same year, Obergefell V Hodges was handed down during Pride month. He remembers celebrating with his new friends, and realizing he wouldn’t have known any of their sexualities.
“We want to take care of our bodies and our physical appearance,” Eric said. “We go to the gym and we eat right and we go on these special diets. And we tend to forget or not even be aware of how our brain really rules all of that.”
Eric firmly believes in the value of therapy for all people. Leave any fear of being judged or turned away for who you are behind, he says. He believes that a person’s sexuality should never be used as a reason for him to deny access to something in which he can help them with.
While he openly admits to not knowing everything about the LGBTQ+ community, Eric admits that he is vulnerable enough to want to learn.
“I have to believe in being an ally. It has to be for real,” he said. “I know my personal conviction and this is what it means to walk out my convictions.”
Learning about the Stonewall Rebellion helped Eric solidify his stance on civil rights for all. “If we don’t stand up and fight for it, then we will be denied it,” he says. “Who a person loves or how they express themselves should not be used to determine their access to the rights we all enjoy.”
Eric plans to run for city council in 2018. Those of you in Nashville’s District 32 will see him on your ballots. “Talk in your community,” Eric says. “Have the conversations that aren’t necessarily easy to talk about. If you see injustice, call it what it is. Have those conversations in your circle and use your voices together to change something. Let’s create what we want to see.”
For more information
Visit Eric Capehart online at ericdcapehart.com.