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.
If you care about #SafeStreets I’m asking you to join myself and others on Friday to memorialize those we have lost in Ward 8 due to senseless violence. Now is the time for every person who is committed to seeing a safe, walkable, livable DC to come together in solidarity. pic.twitter.com/kg4LTeuJdy— ron. (@rondtjr) May 29, 2019
If #SafeStreets doesn’t mean keeping our young black people safe or ensuring that public spaces like a recreation center are safe from a hail of bullets then what are we doing? Violence, whether by car or by bullet, knows no zip code.— ron. (@rondtjr) May 29, 2019
And if you don’t believe that these issues are interconnected, look at where HALF of this years traffic fatalities occurred. Consider that the shooters in Maurice Scott’s murder got away in a CAR on streets that might as well be an airport runway. pic.twitter.com/JGVFcuku3q— ron. (@rondtjr) May 29, 2019
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.