Road crash victims & survivors are the heart of policy advocacy.

At the heart of any advocacy campaign is a voice with a story. Voices give context, humanity and reverence in a single waveform — and, when amplified, can positively effect policy change in a meaningful way.

This year, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) honored World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims with #AdvocatesRemember2021: Elevating the Voices of Victims and Survivors. This two-part global event explored the ways that road crash survivors and the loved ones of victims are using their stories in the fight to advance lifesaving road safety laws. Advocacy leaders from around the world weighed in on what it means to work with people who have endured tragedy, and the importance of elevating their stories. Some of them had endured tragedy themselves.

“I feel the voices of victims and survivors are paramount in bringing that change on the ground in India,” said Karuna Raina, director of Public Policy and Research with India’s SaveLife Foundation, during the event.

Areli Carreon, public policy coordinator with Bicitekas in Mexico, spoke about the importance of being very vocal, recognizing the lives we lost and those who survived with injuries. She shared how impactful the country’s advocates can be, and how more than 70 advocacy organizations are working together in a coordinated and organized way to push for changes to the Law on Safety and Mobility.

“The changes would make streets safer and save the lives of more than 16,000 people who lose their lives on an annual basis on the streets of Mexico,” she said.

Mary Bottagisio, executive director of La Liga Contra La Violencia Vial, founded her advocacy organization after enduring the loss of her sister. (See her story here.) She talked about the importance of generating a more peaceful environment on the streets. “We believe the best way to honor victims is to protect the lives of the people still living,” she said. “We fight so children do not grow up without their mothers and mothers do not bury their children.”

#AdvocatesRemember2021 consisted of a two-part conversation on Twitter, where participants could engage with public health advocates, road safety experts and each other by exchanging tweets and commenting on a live audio conversation. Listen to the conversation, which includes both English and Spanish interviews, here.

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