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Activists plan memorial in Southeast this evening for people killed in traffic deaths

Half of the District’s 2019 traffic fatalities have happened in Ward 8

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Community advocates are set this evening to hold a “ghost shoe” memorial for a female pedestrian who was killed two weeks ago after a driver struck her near the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast, and for others who have died in 2019 as a result of car collisions in Ward 8, D.C.’s southernmost ward. Six of the 12 traffic deaths the city has seen so far this year occurred in the ward, according to official data; all happened in or around Anacostia.

The vigil is planned to be held at 6 p.m. Friday, at 2708 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, steps from where the woman was hit. A separate demonstration against violence is also to occur in Ward 8 this evening, following a violent Memorial Day weekend and the killing of 15-year-old Southeast resident Maurice Scott. That rally will take place at 6:30 p.m., at the Congress Heights intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue SE.

“Violence, whether by car or by bullet, knows no zip code,” tweeted Ward 8 advocate Ronald Thompson Jr., promoting the events. The deadly crashes that occurred in the ward spanned just six weeks, from April 5 to May 17, and involved pedestrians, drivers, and a motorcyclist.

The District is pursuing a Vision Zero initiative to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2024, but the annual number of deaths has only risen since the initiative started in 2015. Officials say they are working on street redesigns, stronger enforcement, and other matters.