Jamaal's primary reason for seeking this seat is to expand his current work in the community, by serving the citizens at a greater capacity. As a local pastor, community leader and advocate, coupled with his love for people, his passion is fueled by his desire to see citizens, their families, their businesses and neighborhoods grow. It is his desire to see Roanoke become an even more inviting place for our residents to live, businesses to be launched, and new families to come. Although there are certainly numerous issues to address as a city, some stand above others. Below you’ll find the issues that break our hearts. We firmly believe that these issues are loaded, multifaceted, and do not have a simple solution. We have tried to explain our current plan to tackle some of these issues our city faces. At the end of the day, we believe that the true solution to most of these issues lies in the collaboration of both the private and public sectors. Working together, equipped with knowledge of the people, we can make an impact on the most pressing issues that our city faces.
SAFER AND STRONGER NEIGHBORHOODS
Having served on the Roanoke Neighborhood Advocates Board for the City and as a Police Chaplain for the Police Department since 2018, there is one word to sum up Jamaal's feelings on crime within Roanoke, accountability. Jamaal is not about defunding the police, but he does believe in creating more accountability with citizens and with law enforcement. Through establishing more effective training for our officers, but also looking to train non-uniformed leaders to take a tough community driven stance on crime. This can be done by leveraging influential individuals in our community (pastors, business owners, fathers, and other leaders), collectively bring an end to issues that are affecting our communities. Bringing together individuals within the effected communities that have the influence to bring an end to the problems that affect us citywide. The violence with guns must come to an end and those using guns to create this violence must be held accountable for their actions. Jamaal believes that our neighborhoods are the nucleus of the city. When our neighborhoods are safer and stronger, then so will our city be. Our neighborhoods include our homes, which need more resources for family development, property acquisition, and life skills building; this will lead to a greater sense of pride in our communities, because of investment and ownership. Jamaal will work to see more police presence in our neighborhoods with satellite police stations, which will lead to lower crime rates and safer streets for our children to play on, our seniors to walk on, and families to grow on.
EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Roanoke is now known for leading the way in promoting and celebrating diversity with various businesses, festivals, and organizations throughout the city. Jamaal is a pro-equity candidate, firmly believing that Roanoke must be a welcoming place for people of all ethnic backgrounds, social and economic status, faith or religion, genders and sexual orientations. He believes in equitable opportunities for individuals to receive the necessary resources from them to come forth, develop, and grow into citizens, business owners, and agents of change within the valley.
Housing is an issue in Roanoke City because property assessments and rental costs are steadily becoming more and more unaffordable, yet it is one of our most basic human needs. It is my plan to work with council to start implementing new policies that create affordable housing (homes and apartments) in the areas of our city where citizens will have access to jobs, healthcare, and other life needs. One solution is by working with local property developers to rehab abandoned homes and buildings into incentivizing mixed-income housing that’s connected to job centers. Other solutions are working to improving our land bank program, and expanding down payment assistance programs to first time home buyers. Creating these avenues towards affordable housing must also be coupled with equitable access to housing. Ensuring that affordable housing is developed around the city and not just in low income or high income neighborhoods, all 4 quadrants of our city need affordable and equitable access to housing.
Roanoke is a beautiful city filled with a diversity of businesses that are unique to Roanoke and this area. Jamaal believes that there should be a greater focus on strengthening our minority owned and small business developers. Focusing on the businesses that have been born within the valley and giving them the resources needed to grow into multi site and large employers in the city. There are many businesses here in the valley that cannot be found anywhere else, they are unique to the city, but also need the opportunity to expand throughout the city and valley.
Also in our local economics, there is a need for diverse suppliers that match the diversity of the city in our retail stores, restaurants, entertainment, and other attractions. This will increase our local spending vs online or out of town spending, neither of which are good for our local economy.