‘It’s a human issue’: Roanoke faith-based leaders, Peacemakers group to hold anti-violence march

ROANOKE, Va. – Violence can often feel like a “them” issue when it is not happening outside of your front door. The reality is violence is happening everywhere and increasing nationwide, according to FBI data.

Police officials have said it is going to take everyone to resolve it, which is sending faith-based leaders in Roanoke to the streets to find an end.

“it’s not just on Melrose. It’s not just on Lafayette or 11th street. People are getting shot in the middle of downtown,” stated Bishop JL Jackson. “Is that a Black issue? It’s a human issue.”

Bishop Jackson leads ReFreshing Church in Roanoke.

“We’ve had violence to a member of our church. Just two years ago, a member of our church Salonya Evans was killed in Southeast,” stated Jackson.

According to Roanoke police data as of September 28, gun violence has plagued all for corners of the star city. Most have occurred in Northwest and Northeast with fewer incidents in Southeast and Southwest.

“We’re just trying to get groups started in other neighborhoods throughout Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast to establish their own and we’ll do the training,” pledged Peacemakers CEO Shawn Hunter.

Peacemakers is an organization working to end violence.

Peacemakers planning anti-violence march Saturday, October 16 (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

“We’re going to start community policing these high crime areas,” stated Hunter.

“I’m not anti-guns. I’m anti-violence,” said Jackson.

Together, Bishop Jackson and Hunter are organizing a United Against Gun Violence Anti-Violence March/Rally.

It will take place Saturday, October 16 at 11 a.m. beginning at the Peacemakers headquarters located at 514 24th Street NW.

There will be presentations from Bishop Jackson and other community leaders as well as performances from various groups.

Families, organizations, and everyone from every walk of life is invited.

“The community needs to do something. City Council needs to do something. The police department needs to do something. The justice department needs to do something, but we can do it much better when we do it together,” said Jackson.

About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

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