Families Who Lost Loved Ones Come Together for World Day of Remembrance

On Sunday, November 19th, cities around the world hosted World Day of Remembrance to honor those who have lost their lives or sustained serious injuries due to traffic crashes. This year was the first year the Washington Area Bicyclist Association hosted an event to commemorate those who have been killed. We gathered at Grant Circle in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC and had 4 families of loved one speak about the losing their family members to traffic violence. We started with WABA’s Executive Director, Greg Billing, speaking about the importance and need for Vision Zero. 

Executive Director Greg Billing opening speech at World Day of Remembrance event

Our first speaker was Christina Quinn whose father was a bicyclist hit by a driver. She gave a heartfelt account of how her father, Timothy Holden’s death has left a hole in her life and the life of her family. She called for the city to make roads safer for travelers.

Christina Quinn speaking about the loss of her father, Timothy Holden.

David Helms, an avid bicyclist, spoke about losing his mother, Robert Pickle Helms. He gave a passionate plea to slow down when we get behind the wheel of a car and refrain from driving when we have had too much to drink or are sleep deprived. 

David Helms speaking about the loss of his mother Roberta Pickle Helms due to an intoxicated driver

The brave aunts of 6-year-old Xavier Luckey spoke about how raw the wounds are from losing their beloved child on his birthday. He was hit and killed before he could cut his birthday cake or open a single present by a driver who didn’t stop. He was about to graduate from kindergarten. They asked the city to do something about speeding cars in neighborhoods near schools so that no other parent will lose their child to a traffic crash.

Chernelle Luckey and Lachone Simms speaking about the loss of their nephew Xavier Luckey on his 6th birthday

Xavier Luckey killed May 2017

The sister and brother-in-law of Chaplin’s Restaurant, Armin Amin – Toomaji spoke. They remembered Armin as “a gentle giant who loved people.” He was a warm spirit, a man who cared for the homeless. He had always wanted to own a restaurant and his dream came true by opening Chaplin’s in the Shaw area of DC. He was struck and killed by driver while walking a customer to her car. 

Arzin Amin and her husband speaking about the loss of her brother Armin Amin-Toomaji

Tamara Evans, WABA’s Advocacy Director, read aloud all 57 names of the people who died in traffic crashes in the District from 2016- 2017. It was a somber moment as we reflected that each of those names represented a member of a community just like those that we’d lifted up.  A community that loves and misses them, even if they couldn’t join us to tell their story.  

Street Smart team holding signs with the names of the 57 people who have died due to traffic fatalities from 2016-2017

The event ended with Renée Moore, WABA’s Vision Zero Community Organizer, speaking about the need to treat traffic fatalities as an epidemic and not as a disruption to our day on the way to our destination. This event is a call to action for our city to make our roads safer for everyone and to make sure no one dies on our roads. You can show support by taking the Vision Zero pledge.