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Tears and remembrance in Brooklyn as memorial to victims of traffic violence unveiled

Tears at Brooklyn traffic violence memorial unveiling
Tearful, sobbing observers huddled together in the brisk afternoon Sunday to unveil the Memorial Grove.
Photo by Dean Moses

Family, friends, and elected officials dedicated a Brooklyn grove on Sunday to those who have died through the years as a result of traffic collisions on what marked World Day of Remembrance.

The emotional ceremony began under the shadow of a tree inside Lincoln Terrace/Arthur S. Somers Park, where members of Families for Safe Streets read aloud the names of those who have been struck and killed throughout each season.

Tearful, sobbing observers huddled together on this brisk afternoon, each one bearing their own heavy burden of loss. Still, they powered through the pain to christen a living garden in memory of those lost too soon. 

Harold Kahn lost his only child Seth Kahn in 2009 when he was struck down by a bus driver on 53rd Street and 9th Avenue at only 20-years-old. Since then, Kahn and his wife pledged to continue fighting for road safety in their son’s name.

Family members embrace. Photo by Dean Moses
Tearful, sobbing observers huddled together in the brisk afternoon Sunday to unveil the Memorial Grove. Photo by Dean Moses

“Hopefully it reminds people to be more careful behind the wheel of the vehicle. Remind pedestrians to be careful, bicyclists to be careful. But if you’re driving a vehicle, you outweigh the others. You need to be extra careful,” Kahn told amNewYork Metro.

The event also strove to not only showcase how destructive the sudden loss of humanity can be when a New Yorker is simply on the way to work or school, but also how prevalent and far-reaching that loss goes. Several elected officials spoke on those they know personally who have lost their lives.

Brooklyn Council Member Rita Joseph used to be a public-school teacher and, through tears, revealed that she lost two students to reckless drivers. 

Council Member Rita Joseph wept. Photo by Dean Moses
Tearful, sobbing observers huddled together in the brisk afternoon Sunday to unveil the Memorial Grove. Photo by Dean Moses

“In my district alone, there were 823 crash-related injuries between the last World Day of Remembrance,” Joseph said. “Today, I have introduced two bills to make speed bumps more prevalent in our neighborhoods. The two bills required speed bumps around parks and senior centers. Thank you for your time. It’s personal.”

Danny Harris, the executive director for Transportation Alternatives, revealed just how dangerous the city streets have become. According to Harris, a member of his team was struck by a vehicle while on the way to the event and is now in an emergency room.

“When our city, this wonderful city of ours, gives you the invitation to live here, to be here, to thrive here, to raise your kids here, it must do so ensuring that all of us — from the youngest to the oldest, from the richest to the poorest, can cross the street without fear of death or serious injury. Just moments before we all gathered here, just mere moments as we were setting up, a staff member of TA riding his bike over here was hit just a block away,” Harris said. “There he stood on his way to an event to help celebrate and honor those who are killed and injured in traffic violence, and now he sits in the emergency room.”

In addition to unveiling the memorial grove, members of Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives called upon elected officials to do more to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in the Big Apple.

Tearful, sobbing observers huddled together in the brisk afternoon Sunday to unveil the Memorial Grove. Photo by Dean Moses
Photo by Dean Moses

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