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Victory in the Valley: New gun violence prevention initiative launches in Roanoke

Victory in the Valley — that’s what over 30 pastors, community leaders, and law enforcement officers pushed for Friday.

After 19 gun-related deaths since the start of 2023, Roanoke City leaders are fed up.

“Together we stand, divided we fall. We have to be a unified effort,” Sheriff Antonio Hash said.

Sheriff Hash, alongside the Roanoke Police Department, Mayor Lea, and over 30 local pastors, announced a new gun violence prevention initiative Friday.

“Let’s cease the crime in our community, let’s ceasefire,” Hash said.

Ceasefire: Victory in the Valley was born when pastors in Roanoke came together with the sheriff’s department to see how they could assist in gun violence prevention.

“This is an effort from the entire city of Roanoke. So together, we understand that we do it better together,” Hash said.

The first goal is 30 days of no violence in Roanoke.

“If we don’t have any gun violence in this great city called Roanoke, Virginia, we are going to have a V for Victory,” Reverend Preston Tyler said.

Within those 30 days, they want more and more of the community to get involved in outreach.

Rita Joyce is the founder of gun violence prevention group, FEDUP, and says local groups make all the difference.

“When we can be together on one team, on one accord, because that’s the only way things happen, on one accord,” Joyce said.

Roanoke Police Captain Jennifer Boswell issued a call to action.

“What are you gonna do tomorrow? What will you do in 30 days, what will you do in 60 days? Even a year from now, where will we be? Will you still have this partnership, will you still have this energy? Will we still be working together as a team, will you bring a friend with you?” Boswell said.

The sheriff’s office also received $2,000 from InFirst Federal Credit Union to help with Ceasefire efforts.

Source: WSLS News 10

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