ROANOKE, Va. – On Tuesday night, Roanoke’s gun violence prevention commission met for the first time to discuss a path forward. The group was born out of the task force to reduce gun violence that started in 2019.
In the first meeting, members took care of bylaws and formalities early, laying out their scope and mission.
“We’re focusing on building relationships; we’re focusing on engaging our community and bringing community partners together,” Roanoke Councilman Joe Cobb said.
Relationship building will be core to the mission. The group will focus on multiple angles with a common theme of trauma.
“What we also know is that a lot of perpetrators of gun violence have experienced traumas in their lives,” member Taisha Steele said.
The commission was created in the footsteps of the task force to reduce gun violence, started by the city council a few years ago. A heavy emphasis will be placed on reaching students to help be more preventative.
“If we focus on these younger ones, I think we will be able to see a change, it will take a few years, it’s not going to happen overnight, but we will systemically see that change,” member Nicole Ross said.
As gun crimes continue in the City of Roanoke, the commission knows their work is important. But they said it’s going to take continued effort to bring change to the table.
“I believe that eight to ten years from now even though that seems a long way off, we’ll be able to look back and see that work we’re doing now is making a significant difference and we’ll be able to measure that,” Cobb said.