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Five years after Tallahassee's 'hot yoga' shooting, victims' friends and family push for positive change

Posted at 6:41 PM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-02 18:41:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's been 5 years since the Hot Yoga shooting here in the Midtown Tallahassee neighborhood.

Five were hurt. Maura Binkley and Nancy Van Vessem were killed. The studio where it happened remains open today.

From this tragedy, a drive was created to address hatred and violence in our culture and create a future where everyone can be safe.

The Maura's Voice Research Fund was established in December of 2018 by Maura's parents, Jeff and Margaret Binkley in memory of Maura, an FSU Senior. It was founded as a voice for Maura and victims of every act of mass violence in the country.

"What we're doing," Jeff Binkley told ABC 27, "is looking at expanding the depth and the scope of research into hatred violent extremism into areas where when we started this there were gaps."

The research fund, housed in the Florida State University College of Social Work, was created to better understand the relationship between hatred, radicalization and violence and their impacts on public safety. The goal is to provide policymakers and thought leaders with information about the underlying issues related to systemic violence and to develop workable solutions for a safer future.

"We would ask people to unite and repudiate hatred in all it's forms and that serves as a foundation to eradicate violence," Binkley added.

Maura's Voice, one of peace, is still loud and clear. It's a positive force of cultural change.

"I think she would be very happy with what we've done," Binkley said. "She'd prod us to do more. Her sisters from Tri Delta really stepped up; these young women are our future."