The power of the partnership between survivor advocates and injury prevention professionals far
exceeds the power of either working alone.


Marie Williams
Stop for Kid's Safety


DanDan was 8 years old, loved video games and bike riding. July 14, 1992 was a nice sunny day, so DanDan and his brothers convinced Marie, their mother, to let them play outside. At about 3 pm she called for the kids to come inside, but they did not answer. Her oldest, Pierre, came running inside and said, “Mom, come and help me.” DanDan and his bike were lying in the street, hit by a car while its driver was talking on a cell phone. He was dead.


Marie’s heart was broken. Her pain was so bad, it felt like it was squeezing her heart out. Her husband was strong during the funeral. He had to be, for both of them. Four to five months after the incident, she shared her pain with the director of the Whitney Young Child Development Center, who said, “Let’s do something together. Let’s do something that will help you deal with your pain.”

Marie’s therapy was to do something to prevent others from feeling this pain. She had lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. She decided to bring people together on the streets to tell San Francisco that it is not okay for people to be dying on its streets. She decided to walk from Hunters Point to downtown San Francisco. She called her walk: Stop for Kids’ Safety. In 1992, the first year, five people walked together. A chief of the SF Fire Department and two police officers on bikes were with them.

The walk became an annual affair - growing in numbers each year. In 1993, 30 people walked; that number doubled in 1994. In 1995, the walkers included eight supervisors and two members of the mayor’s staff. By 1997, there were 300, including Marie, who had given birth to a new baby the day before. By 1999, 500 people walked. In 2000, they sent out 12,000 flyers; unfortunately, rain kept the crowd to about 800.

Marie supports laws and regulations for pedestrian safety, like traffic calming. She wanted speed bumps to be installed on her street, but found, unfortunately that they were no longer allowed. Cars going too fast over speed bumps cause serious shaking which damaged city streets and people’s houses.

She wants to slow traffic down by increasing the number of speed limit signs posted and enforcement of the speed limit. She works with various groups to stop red-light running by installing photo-enforcement cameras on dangerous intersections. She wants more education for drivers about the risks of speed.

She wants to ban the use of cell phones by drivers while they are driving. The man who killed her son was talking on a cell phone. Police said it was just an “accident”, and the man never took any responsibility for her son’s death.

She wants a pedestrian’s “bill of rights”. On pedestrian issues, she works with BayPeds, the Senior Health Network, the Pedestrian Task Force, Walk SF, Neighborhood Family Partnership, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), various SF advocates, supervisors, a city task force, and private citizens. Funding for her work has been difficult. At first, Marie paid for everything herself. After 4 years, she has received some financial help.

She also works on bicycle safety issues, to honor her son who was biking when he was killed. The SF Bicycle Coalition’s president comes to her walks. In 1997, she received a Golden Wheel award from the Coalition for her work.

She insists upon action as well. She wanted a stop sign on her street so she contacted the new Mayor, Willie Brown. Staff of the former administration had promised to take care of it. She was literally on the phone with Brown’s staff office, when she saw them putting up the stop sign. She says to pressure officials at election time, because that is when they are most anxious to please voters.

Marie assumed that most people would want to work on prevention after enduring a family tragedy. Given how many people are hit in San Francisco, she figured that there should be hundreds of survivor advocates. When the news media had a story about a pedestrian dying, she tried to contact family members. But she found that people grieve differently. Most do not want to remember all the pain, and find it easier to forget or push it away, rather than to get involved.

In 1996, her 14 year old son Pierre was hit and injured at a school crossing. Pierre has completely recovered, but these things happen again, and again, and again. Marie and her husband want to protect all children, especially their own eight, four teenagers and four “little ones”.

She wants people to see her pain, a pain no one should have to endure. She wants others to see thru her eyes and those of her family and her community, that in every child’s death, hundreds of people are affected. This is the power of her program.

Marie believes there is a God who tests one’s faith, and that God took her son for a reason. She works on prevention to make sure DanDan’s life meant something. There is nothing else she can do for him, except work hard to prevent people from being hit by cars. In return, DanDan gives her the extra energy it takes to get up every morning.

Ways to Contact/Contribute:

Stop for Kid's Safety
2055 Falcon Drive
Fairfield, CA 94533
T: 707-435-0378
Website: Under construction