ROANOKE, Va. – A community has been shattered by recent shootings in the Star City.
“It’s sad, it’s frightening. It’s disheartening. I think we’re all at a loss as to what to do,” said Renea Taylor, the F.E.D.U.P co-founder.
“It’s senseless. When you take somebody’s life, you’re not only taking that person’s life, you’re affecting their family, you’re affecting your family,” said Taylor’s sister, Tracy Penn.
Taylor and Penn know that pain first-hand. Both their father and brother were shot and killed in Roanoke. To this day, both cases are still unsolved.
“They left a legacy and they will never be forgotten,” said Taylor.
Every time there’s a shooting Penn lives through her pain all over again.
“Anytime anybody gets shot or killed, I go through all of these emotions,” said Penn. “I go through the emotions of the family, what I went through before. I start reliving my past all over again. So it’s very sad,” said Penn.
Fed up with the gun violence happening in their community, they formed the group F.E.D.U.P., which stands for Families Expecting Deliverance Using Prayer. The group offers support, financial assistance and resources to Roanoke families who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence.
“We understand that trauma begets trauma,” said Taylor. “And if you don’t deal with it, then it’s just going to be a continuous cycle.”
On Saturday, they’re hosting a free prayer breakfast for the community, honoring the victims who’ve been shot and killed since January of 2020. But they also want families to remember those who died long before.
“It’s for them,” said Taylor. “We want to support them and let them know that they are loved, they’re supported that we’re here for them and that we understand what they are going through.”
They hope the event will bring people together in love, not fear.
“Come out. Support us. Let’s do something positive. Let’s bring positivity back to Roanoke,” said Penn.
“I feel the city has a sense of hopelessness and we want to combat that,” said Taylor. “There is hope. there is life at the end of this.”