Friday, January 16, 2015

Streets are for Sharing. Rally for Safe Streets and Winter days.

Streets are for sharing. We all have to look out for each other.  These words have been resonating through my mind the last few days, reminding me of the interconnection and transitory nature of our worlds and lives.  

A truck came rumbling down our street the other morning, smashing several cars along the way. And then, it drove off.  Fortunately, no one was hurt. And someone was there who saw it. This time.  But  that’s not always the case. 

We all need to look out for each other after all. We also have to hold those who drive recklessly accountable. And we have to change the way we look a cites. Streets are for sharing.   Just as the planet is.  The oceans and skies, our water and public spaces, these are all our commons. And as the New York Times reports today: they are in danger  We have to protect them and share them with everyone. We all have to look out for each other.  After all, we are tied up in a web of mutuality, with each person’s life ebbing through waves and waves of shared spaces, intersections, clashes and collisions between our lives and those of others.

So, we all met on Sunday at City Hall to ask DA’s to do their part in looking out. 

The facebook invite noted:
Please join Families for Safe Streets on Sunday, January 11th in lower Manhattan and demand that NYC take traffic violence seriously. We succeeded in lowering the speed limit. Now we need NYC to hold reckless drivers accountable. The District Attorney’s failure to do so has created a culture of violence on our streets. Traffic violence is an epidemic - every 30 hours someone is killed; 191 people are injured every day - and something needs to be done now!

New York City will never achieve Vision Zero until we change the law-breaking culture of driving on our streets. When one person kills another, it is typically expected that there will be consequences. But if the weapon is a vehicle, reckless drivers say “oops it was an accident” and are permitted to literally drive away and potentially kill again.

Amy Cohen leading the charge. 

My fr
iend and conspirator Keegan was there.

the hardest working activist in show business. 

Amy Cohen, whose son died last year at the hands of a reckless driver, was there connecting her story with the stories of others who have suffered, lost, and fought to create a better world and life in the here and now.  Pray for the dead and fight for the living.  But its never easy.  I have so much respect for each person at city hall speaking out, raging against the despair of their own losses, but not giving in. Just like MADD, these activists are speaking out, asking questions, and looking for answers from the powers that be about why the city fails to hold wreck less drivers accountable. So far, Ken Thompson, of Brooklyn, is the only DA willing to meet with the Families for Safe Streets to explain why they are blocking efforts to hold drivers accountable.

Allison Liao's parents were there to speak out. 
Brad Lander compared Families for Safer Streets to MADD, predicting we would have a similar impact

My friend Dulcie Canton, who was injured riding last year, was there to speak out.  More and more she sees the power of the cycle as a vehicle for social change. 

And the press release stated.
Reckless Drivers Who Kill New Yorkers Must Be Charged
Families for Safe Streets Calls on NYC’s District Attorneys to
Prosecute in Fatal Crashes

New York City's district attorneys must prosecute drivers when their
reckless behavior causes death or serious injury, say members of
Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved
ones in traffic crashes. In a rally on the steps of City Hall Sunday
afternoon, the group will call on the City's five district attorneys
to become partners in the Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic
fatalities and serious injuries.

"Why is it that if you kill someone while driving drunk, the district
attorney will press charges, but not if you kill or maim someone
through reckless behavior on the road," asks Families for Safe Streets
founding member Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy Cohen Eckstein
was struck and killed by a driver in 2013. "Crashes caused by aggressive driving
are not accidents. When drivers make turns at full speed without even
looking, or speed through intersections and kill people, D.A.s never
press charges. We need to change the culture on our streets and make
it unacceptable to drive recklessly. We will never get to zero
fatalities and serious injuries unless we hold dangerous drivers
accountable for their actions."

"Most New Yorkers don't understand the reality that a driver can kill
or maim your loved one, and then get back in their car and drive off,
with no consequences," says FSS founding member Dana Lerner, whose
9-year-old son Cooper Stock was killed last January when a cab driver
hit him in a crosswalk. "How can reckless drivers who kill innocent
people go free? D.A.s need to change the attitude that 'accidents
happen' and start bringing charges in connection with these crashes,
to keep dangerous drivers from destroying more lives."

"District attorneys are the people's prosecutors, and they must
champion public safety," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of
Transportation Alternatives. "The public needs more information about
how D.A.s determine whether to prosecute after serious crashes, and
how often they bring charges. We need City Council oversight hearings
on the role of D.A.s in the effort to reach Vision Zero, and we need
legislation similar to the NYPD TrafficStat law, which requires
regular public reporting from district attorneys about their cases.
The D.A.s in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island are seeking
re-election next year, and T.A. will press the issue of driver
accountability with all the candidates."

Make Brooklyn Safer
 shared Families For Safe Streets's post.

This has been an incredible winter, so much life and energy. 
Every day after school number two and i cross the Gowanus

Last week, we saw something strange. There are ducks 
swimming in the water, she told me.  For the last week, 
they've been here, survivng.  And we've been looking at 
them in awe. Lovely to watch their resilience. Lovely to 
see it. We all have to fight the toxicity of our
environments, find something better, and hopefully survive.
After all, we are all part of this, together.

But the being, the living, the riding, the skating, the joy 
of our moment, help inspire us.  

The other day, a monk came to my daughter's school.  
He created a tanka from sand and lead the students 
mediating all week, before taking the sand mandala, 
representing the universe, back to the park, pouring 
the sand away, giving it back to the world, back to
the commons.  The happiness is in the doing, not the 
owning, he reminded them.  Thank you MLK and 
families for safer streets for reminding us to look out 
for each other.  There is a great  joy in looking our for
each other.

No comments:

Post a Comment