Over the years, Oregon Walks programming has been made possible by incredible partners who put their time, energy, and passion for community into everything they do. When we reached out to the Multnomah County Library on Belmont last year as our Black to Nature Walking Series launched, Jeanie Diaz responded with excitement to engage. As the youth librarian at the library, she curated an experience for members of our walking series that allowed people to explore relevant resources, sign up for a library card, and feel wholly welcome in one of Portland’s sacred spaces.
Jeanie was the seventh person this month to lose her life due to traffic violence in Portland. She was waiting at the bus stop on Cesar Chavez, across from the library, when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Cesar Chavez, a deadly road to begin with, was made even deadlier on Saturday evening as somebody chose to drive under the influence and subsequently take a life – a life of a mom, a wife, an artist, and an incredibly loved community member.
Our hearts are breaking for Jeanie’s girls who are forced to now grow up without a mom, her husband, and all of her family and friends who lost such a treasure in their lives. Our hearts also break for the many families that must mourn their loved ones who were simply going about their days when their lives were taken.
Traffic violence is an epidemic that we have accepted as a community because of the comfort and convenience that cars provide for so many. As a society, we must measure our priorities by quality of life, rather than convenience and speed. We cannot continue to wait for moms to be taken away from their little girls, and children to be taken from their loved ones, to make changes to our dangerous streets.
You can support Jeanie Diaz’s family right now by donating to her husband, Arturo’s GoFundMe.