The city of Roanoke is planning to hold a gun violence vigil this weekend – to honor those who have been impacted by guns and also working to prevent further violence.
Earlier this year, city leaders received an annual update on public safety in Roanoke. And Vice Mayor Joe Cobb was disheartened to see that gun-related violence was prominent in certain parts of the city.
That prompted him and other local officials to plan an event within the community – which has become Roanoke Remembers:
“So it’s kind of a remembrance service to honor those who’ve died," he explains. "But also to provide healing support for those who are still living with the trauma, still living with the loss and finding a way forward as a community with healing at the heart of what we are doing.”
The event is one of the first tangible outcomes of the city’s Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence – something that was also formed in the wake of that public safety update. Cobb is leading the effort.
“One of our biggest concerns is how to address the root causes of violence – and specifically gun violence," Cobb says. "But also to look at how we can strengthen relationships – neighborhood relationships, city relationships – so that we are increasing the honor and value we place on each other and decreasing the ways in which we sort out conflict.”
Cobb hopes the task force will lead to expanded services, like peer-mediation programs, that can help cut down on conflict before it escalates to violence.
Roanoke Remembers is scheduled for 5pm Sunday at William Fleming High School.