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Roanoke nonprofit passes out red ribbons to unite community, bring awareness to gun violence

If you were passing through Northwest Roanoke this weekend, you may have noticed red ribbons tied to street signs and neighbors’ doorknobs. It’s part of a local group’s effort to unite the community and bring an end to gun violence in the area.

The Peacemakers handed out the ribbons to neighbors like Shirley Eley Saturday afternoon.

“People running and shooting, acting like the wild west,” Eley said. “It’s just not necessary.”

Eley has lived in Roanoke for the last two decades, but the recent rise in gun violence has her and others fearful in their own homes.

“We can’t even, at times, sit on our porches in the summertime because of the violence,” she added.

“I’ve had friends that have been involved in shootings,” neighbor Yebelee Willis-Desta said. “One time, I came off my bus stop, I’m walking down and there’s a whole police scene.”

It’s that kind of violence the Peacemakers are taking a stand against.

“We have a major issue that is going through some of these communities,” Peacemaker Joshua Blake said. “We need to definitely hit the pavement pounding, get out and knock on doors.”

Police say a large majority of gun violence is coming from young people. They’ve set aside $50,000 to offer rewards to those who can offer information to stop gun violence in the Star City.

”I am ready to stop the violence. I’m tired of the killing,” Peacemaker Derrick Morgan said. “I have two young kids out here, and I don’t want them growing up with these circumstances of seeing someone getting killed.”

As for the Peacemakers and their red ribbons—they could have never imagined how much it was needed.

“I sure hope they can stop it,” Eley said. “We need somebody to stop this violence.”

“It makes me feel like there could be some kind of hope,” Willis-Desta added.

Source: WSLS News 10

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