Last Friday, a halo placement ceremony was held for Yana Lavrentev who was killed last year by a hit and run driver in Encino a year ago.
It was a well attended event with a large contingent of family, friends and mobility advocates paying their respects.
The ceremony was hosted by John Yi of Los Angeles Walks with Lauren Ballard (LADOT), Jeri Lynch (Conor Lynch Foundation) and Jay Greenstein (CD 5).
Family friend Julia Karaboff had the most heartbreaking speech bringing tears to everyone’s eyes as her words seemed to bring Yana back to life.
As with the number of ghost bikes I’ve placed, it’s difficult attending these ceremonies because little has been done address these problems and you wish having to celebrate a life wouldn’t be happening at all.
It’s the first time I ever videoed an event like this and you can tell by my unsteadiness that it was difficult being a spectator.
We all want real action in making change to our streets safer, but commemorating these lives raises awareness of these issues and plays a role in the healing process.
While there is no defined way to proceed from a tragedy like this one, the best I can say is to make some steps to move forward, whether it’s calling your councilmember, attending a community meeting or even sharing some of these stories with your friends.
This is an area I frequent (and even proposed to my wife down the street) and this halo will be a constant reminder of Yana Lavrentev.
The rainbow is a beautiful tribute, but I hope action is done to make sure it stands alone.