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Roanoke leaders and community groups talk about solutions to gun violence


ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – The Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission met on Tuesday evening to analyze crime data in the city.

It comes as other community groups come together to organize events promoting peace.

Coming from a background in law enforcement, Dr Isaac Van Patten’s presentation to the Roanoke Gun Violence Prevention Commission on Tuesday evening focused on trends in what he calls depoliticization, less interference from the police on patrol.

Highlighting the “hot spots” in Roanoke where crime persists the most.

When asked about community participation, Dr Patten says this is one of the most effective approaches to reducing violence.

“90-95% of the people who live in this neighborhood are good different people who want the violence to stop. But they are afraid, ”says Dr Patten. “If they see the community actively engaging them in the conversation, supporting them, then they will start to come out of their homes. “

That’s exactly what community leaders like Bishop JL Jackson hope to do, working alongside neighborhood conflict resolution groups like Peacemakers Inc. to stage a united march against gun violence on Saturday, October 16.

“We call on every organization, every business, every church, the public, in general, to unite against gun violence,” said Shawn Hunter, president of Peacemakers Inc ..

“Where there is unity there is strength, and united we can stand, but divided we fall,” said Bishop Jackson. “So we come together. We come to strengthen each other, heal each other and let each other know, I know the pain you are facing.

Bishop Jackson’s congregation at ReFreshing Church are all too familiar with the grief of gun violence, with one of his own congregation members, Salonya Evans, being shot dead in July 2019.

“We want all of these cases resolved, we want justice done, but we also want to bring healing to all of these cases,” Bishop Jackson said. “It begins with the return of our fathers to our homes, mothers looking after our children… sisters and brothers keeping each other responsible and responsible. Because if we can stop it in our homes, it won’t come to our door.

The walk begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Goodwill parking lot on 24th Street.


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