After several months of meetings and fielding public feedback – Roanoke’s Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence has presented its recommendations to City Council. However, the group’s work is far from over.
The task force was formed back in June – and in the short time since then has come up with around 20 recommendations for city council to consider.
They aren’t legislative proposals either – something that should hopefully help them become reality as quickly as possible.
The suggestions focus on things like building and maintaining community relationships and working to drop the city’s recidivism rate.
The group had one overwhelming suggestion though.
“I would like to first recommend that the task force be given the opportunity to extend our work," said Shakira Williams, who chairs the task force. “And complete the task of implementing tangible, meaningful and transformative actions to reduce gun violence within Roanoke city.”
She says some of the recommendations – like community potlucks and clean-up programs – will be relatively easy to implement quickly. Others, such as a 24-hour response center, will take much more time to get up and running.
City councilors agreed that the work of the task force should continue. Mayor Sherman Lea reminded its members of just how important their efforts are:
“There are still people being found in the alley ways, in backyards; people are getting shot" Lea explained. "That’s the part about this, so please keep that in mind. This is life and death.”
Work is already underway on one of the task force’s recommendations – a walk of silence in honor of gun violence victims. Officials are hoping to hold that event on December 12th.