Roanoke Remembers searches for solutions to gun violence

Loved ones of people killed by gunfire shared their stories

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - William Fleming High School's auditorium filled to the brim with people who want to see peace in Roanoke.

The Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force organized Roanoke Remembers to allow gun violence survivors to share their stories while brainstorming for ways to stop more shootings from happening.

"This happens more than just in my family but to other families as well," said Malik Sallah, a collegiate wrestler from Roanoke whose father Jacob was shot and killed in October. "We need to change. We need to be better than that. We need to be better people. It's not hard to talk to people and try to be friends and not enemies."

The event features songs, poetry, and a memorial wall honoring the people who have been shot and killed in the Roanoke Valley.

Several surviving family members also addressed the crowd, including Sallah and Tenysia Rivera, a Howard University student whose dad was shot and killed when she was a child.

"He died when I was 8. It's been 11 years," Rivera said. "A bullet came out and a bullet hit my father and now he's dead. That's the reality of it all."

Othes who lost ones to gun violence came to talk about their pain and talk about what should be done next. That included David Mitchell, whose 19-year-old stepson Jake Aldridge was killed in a shooting a year ago.

"it's a different kind of pain that you go through when you lose someone to a violent act like that, especially someone so young like Jake," Mitchell said.

Attendees wrote down their ideas for solutions, which the task force will look over. Additionally, the people who came received a list of mental health and counseling resources to help deal with their traumas.

 

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