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We must bring our crash stories to people in power. We can on March 7.

 In Uncategorized

A few weeks ago, I told my crash story.

My crash story took place on January 4, 2020, when I was hit while jogging in the Panhandle. A speeding driver ran a red light, struck me, and left me with a broken neck and back among other injuries.

I’ve told my story many times. But that day, the person listening to my story was Amanda Eaken, the new chair of the SFMTA Board of Directors. We’d invited her to attend a San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets meeting – and she said yes.

Director Eaken is someone with the authority and power to make real changes happen on our streets. The SFMTA is the City’s transportation agency, and leads the City’s Vision Zero efforts to end severe and fatal traffic crashes.

As Director Eaken sat and listened to my story – and the stories from other members who have been directly affected by a crash – I saw her take in our words. I could see that she held them in both her heart and mind.

Director Eaken’s been a champion for safe streets since she was appointed to the SFMTA Board, and I had seen her at World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. I knew she ‘got it.’ But I could see that in this setting, hearing stories face-to-face was different.

Then we shared our priorities with Director Eaken. It’s been so painful for us to witness the City fall behind in its Vision Zero promises when we personally have experienced how high the stakes are.

Much of what we told Director Eaken became the basis for a letter we sent to the entire SFMTA Board of Directors last week.

And it’s what me and many others (including hopefully you!) are going to echo in public comment at the Tuesday, March 7 SFMTA Board meeting.

That’s because Director Eaken told us something that left everyone at the meeting more committed to speaking up for safe streets at every opportunity.

Director Eaken emphasized how powerful and needed our stories are. Every individual story of our lived experiences and the larger story we are weaving together about the collective toll of traffic violence in our cities are crucially important. There are many city leaders who need to hear our stories – because they are what will inspire bold action. Director Eaken made it clear that when I show up, when you show up, it matters.

Sharing your story can be very difficult. But if or when you are ready, me and other members of Families for Safe Streets are here to help you share it, whether that’s in a meeting or in a public comment.

So please RSVP to make a short public comment at the Tuesday, March 7, the SFMTA Board meeting. Starting at 1PM, they will discuss SFMTA’s progress on Vision Zero – and we have a chance to show them why they have to be bolder and more aggressive

Sign up to call in or attend in-person at City Hall, and for talking points and any help you’d like preparing.

San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets brings together people who have had someone they care about hurt or killed in a traffic crash. It also includes people who have survived a traffic crash themselves.

Families for Safe Streets also helps people channel their grief into action. We use our voices to push for the changes needed to prevent more tragedies. We are part of a national Families for Safe Streets movement.

Eight children (with two parents on either side) cross a yellow crosswalk at an intersection.A sign on a post that says a person died due to a crash at this intersection. A man is walking on the crosswalk in foreground as the light turns green.