Gun Violence

Gun Violence Prevention Commission Prevention and Intervention Mini-Grant Opportunity for Roanoke City Nonprofits and Faith-based Organizations 

The Gun Violence Prevention Commission is making available $65,000 to local non-profit and faith-based organizations for activities designed for prevention and intervention of gun violence in our community. The commission is primarily interested in programs that work with youth and young adults and are collaborative in nature. These funds will be distributed in grants ranging from $3,000-$5,000 for activities to be completed by August 31, 2021.
Prevention and intervention efforts may include: 
• Mentoring and Sponsoring 
• Education
• Training (Conflict Resolution, Trauma-informed, Youth Employment) 
• Scholarships
• Youth Entrepreneurship
• Programs and Events
Applicant organizations must be located within the City of Roanoke and be nonprofit—501(c)
—organizations or other duly organized nonprofits in good standing with the Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Roanoke, with complete operational status as of May 1, 2021.
Organizations will be asked to self-certify that
• The expenditures for which they are applying are documented, with documentation maintained on file at the organization.
Applications must be received by May 21, 2021 at 11:59pm via online form (click here) with the upload of a detailed expenditures spreadsheet (example: word document or excel spreadsheet).
Contact Angela O’Brien at 540-853-5309, angela.o’[email protected] or Joe Cobb at 540-580-9645, jose[email protected] with questions or for additional guidance.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Statement on Recent Violence in Roanoke

From Mayor Sherman Lea, the Roanoke City Council, and
the Gun Violence Prevention Commission

This past Monday, our City experienced several acts of gun violence that have left us saddened and grieving. Three youth were injured, in two separate incidents, and one youth died from the injuries. Since the beginning of the year, our City has experienced four deaths and seventeen injuries as a result of gunfire. Every one of these incidents represents a person, with a name, a family, and neighbors. The layers of loss and grief are deep. We are all experiencing the effects of trauma. Every one of these incidents also creates a tear in the fabric of our community life that we must work together to mend, heal and prevent from happening again.

On Monday, during the same time of the shootings, a grant writing team for the Gun Violence Prevention Commission was wrapping up submission of documents to the state to receive funding for a Youth and Gang Violence Community Assessment, which will begin soon and continue through the summer. We will be reaching out to youth, families and neighbors throughout our City to hear from you about the impacts of violence in your lives and how we can work together to create greater safety for everyone. We will also be listening to your struggles of survival and the difficulties our youth and families are facing in finding a pathway that gives hope instead of discouragement.

The purpose of the Gun Violence Prevention Commission is to study the issue of gun violence in the community, recommend strategies for prevention, intervention and response to reduce incidents of gun violence and address its effects on the community, and to work with citizens and community partners in developing programs that create meaningful opportunities for positive non-violent pathways for health and wholeness. This work is long-term and complex and requires all of us to work together.

In addition to the Community Assessment, the Commission, with the support of Mayor Lea and the Roanoke City Council, is implementing several initiatives focused on response, prevention and intervention: 

  • Continued neighborhood outreach from the RESET volunteer team, led by Lloyd Merchant, and the Roanoke Police Department connecting with neighbors experiencing the trauma of violence.
  • Continued Rapid Response long-term care for families who have experienced loss and trauma with additional resources for support.
  • A mobile public art project traveling to neighborhoods throughout the City to provide creative expression in addressing violence and creating safer neighborhoods.
  • An after-school and summer pilot program on Positive Action – teaching our children and youth how to honor and value themselves while honoring and valuing each other and finding peaceful ways to resolve conflict.
  • Basic Trauma Training Workshops for the Community – teaching how to recognize trauma and how to work with each other to carefully navigate pathways to healing.
  • Community Outreach events, including youth summits, to receive input on the Community Assessment and to create opportunities for youth to work and play safely right where they live. We are seeking to connect with community partners who are willing to host and/or support these events.
  • A Series of conversations with local businesses on how you can partner with the Commission to provide workforce opportunities and mentoring with our youth

These are a few of the efforts the Commission believes will be effective in reducing violence and increasing safety. We need you. For our City to see reduced violence, our community must answer the call and work together. To participate in or support these efforts, please contact the Commission at [email protected] or by calling Joe Cobb, Council Member and Commission Chair at 540-580-9645 or [email protected].

We are all tired of seeing any of our citizens die from gun violence. We all want our youth to believe and know that their lives matter and that they can have long and fruitful lives. Even as we extend our loving care to the families of these young people and all who are experiencing loss, we also dedicate ourselves to engaging in the important work of making Roanoke a safer City for all.

Roanoke-LogoThe City of Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force was developed in 2020.  The purpose of this task force was to consider current practices within the City of Roanoke to address gun violence, review alternatives that have been utilized in other communities, and make recommendations to City Council to implement tangible, meaningful and transformative actions to reduce gun violence within the City of Roanoke. To review meeting minutes, agendas and documents from the Task Force, click here. 

In 2021, the Gun Violence Prevention Commission was developed.  The purpose and responsibility of the Gun Violence Prevention Commission shall be as follows:

        (1)    Gather, review and study the issue of gun violence within the community;

        (2)    Make recommendations to city council for potential actions that the city may take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence within our community and to make recommendations for enhancing existing resources and campaigns; and

        (3)    Aid the city in making and developing community partnerships to assist in the reduction of gun violence.

NOTE:    Ordinance No. 42012-031521 adopted on March 15, 2021, amending and reordaining Permanent Committees, Article XIV Authorities, Boards, Commissions and Committees Generally, Chapter 2, Administration, Code of the City of Roanoke (1979), Section 2-297 of Division 2, Permanent Committees, Article XIV Authorities, Boards, Commissions and Committees Generally, Chapter 2, Administration, Code of the City of Roanoke (1979), as amended; amending and reordaining Division 2, Permanent Committees, Article XIV Authorities, Boards, Commissions and Committees Generally, Chapter 2, Administration, Code of the City of Roanoke (1979), as amended, to add Section 2-306; establishing an effective date; and dispensing with the second reading of this ordinance by title.

To learn more about the Gun Violence Prevention Commission, click here.   If you have any questions, please email: [email protected] 

  1. GVPC Agendas
  2. GVPC Meeting Minutes
  3. GVPC Documents