Families and friends gathered together in LA State Historic Park to honor loved ones impacted by traffic violence at Los Angeles Walks’ annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims event on November 18, 2018.
The Southern California chapter of Families for Safe Streets, a group of individuals and families who have lost a loved one in a traffic collision or survived a severe crash, welcomed close to 100 attendees to Los Angeles Walks’ annual World Day of Remembrance (WDR) event - this year in LA State Historic Park.
SoCal Families for Safe Streets, a project of Los Angeles Walks, planned the gathering to honor and celebrate their loved ones’ lives, and to demand an end to preventable traffic deaths and serious injuries.
Debbie Hsiung and Beverly “Grandma Beverly” Shelton, the co-founders of SoCal Families for Safe Streets (above), framed the day with the painful reminder that 64 people died on Los Angeles’ city streets in the first six months of 2018 - about one every three days. Like Debbie and Beverly, 64 families must deal with the anger, pain, and devastation of that reality for the rest of their lives.
Debbie and Grandma Beverly called attendees to action, inviting them into the work to advocate for safer street design and to ensure pedestrian and bicyclist rights are elevated in a city that historically prioritizes drivers and expediency.
Areli Morales (far right) and her family provided World Day of Remembrance attendees the opportunity to decorate pan de muerto in honor of loved ones lost to traffic violence. Areli and her family honored the life of her grandfather, who was struck and killed while legally crossing the street in East Los Angeles in 1994.
Event attendees from all over the city honored the lives of loved ones -- and strangers alike -- through participatory activities, like decorating luminaria bags and lighting wish paper, as well as by sharing stories and cultural traditions with one another.
World Day of Remembrance acknowledged the burden of grief that families too often bear silently, and engaged attendees to become advocates for just policies that put an end to traffic fatalities and severe injuries.
As Debbie Hsiung said in her remarks, “Every single one of these deaths is more than a headline. It’s more than a dot on a map or a data point in a chart. We are families and communities shattered by a sudden, horrific, PREVENTABLE death. And we say, ‘enough.’”
If you’d like to know more about Families for Safe Streets, please click here.
All photos by Rabi Abdnour except for the top image.