Photos by Stephanie Perez.
As the sun set last Friday, October 7, people gathered on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Artesia Boulevard to remember the life of a 17-year-old Jordan High School student.
Vigil held for a 17-year-old boy who was hit by a car on Myrtle Ave and Artesia Blvd. pic.twitter.com/l6Q2j7LQ0W— Stephanie Perez (@sgperez_) October 8, 2016
Juan Gonzalez died Friday, September 30, a day after he was hit by an SUV as he and two friends ran diagonally across the intersection. He suffered major head trauma and succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
“My heart is heavy for this because A) it was a young man’s life who was lost and B) in a way that shouldn’t have been,” said Pastor and Walk Bike Long Beach committee member Kyle Blake.
The vigil was hosted by two students from the Jordan High School Bike Club, which was recently created with help of local grassroots organization Healthy Active Streets, which advocates for road safety and complete streets.
Several religious leaders, including Gregory Sanders and Kyle Blake as well as a Long Beach city planning personnel were present.
“The ironic thing about all of this is the next day [from the incident] we had a safe streets event right here, on Artesia, to talk about the protective bike lane,” said Uptown Business District Manager Tasha Hunter. “I think it is a community effort to have this become a safer area.”
The friends of Juan Gonzalez hosted a fundraiser on Saturday, October 8 at Houghton Park in hopes of raising money for funeral expenses, said Danny Gamboa of Healthy Active Streets.
His family and friends also set up a GoFund Me account, asking for donations to help with funeral costs.
Gamboa described the area where Gonzalez was hit as a “weird intersection” with a sidewalk on one side, but not the other.
“I think we were heard by the city and we'll be following up on how we can work together to make that intersection safe,” he said. “It's important because of its proximity to Jordan High School.”
It isn't a normal intersection on Myrtle Ave and Artesia Blvd. pic.twitter.com/MmEIhLqoZm— Stephanie Perez (@sgperez_) October 8, 2016