A street sign that reads "Zachary's Corner" currently marks the intersection at Derby and Warring in Berkeley, CA where young resident, Zachary Cruz, was killed by a vehicle in 2009 while attempting to cross the street with his daycare teacher. At the time of his passing, Zachary was two weeks shy of 6 years old.
The identity of the individual who installed the sign in December 2010 is still a mystery to Zachary's family. Even now, five years later, the sign's creator has yet to acknowledge responsibility for this beautiful gesture of remembrance.
Zachary's parents are thankful that the intersection at Derby and Warring bears their son's name. While it marks a painful place for those who knew and loved Zach, the sign has inspired people to learn about his life. It has even prompted some to commit themselves to safer personal driving practices. These two facts have transformed a tragic location into a place of both remembrance and activism.
- February 28, 2009: The intersection of Derby and Warring develops into a community roadside memorial in the rainy days immediately following Zachary's death on February 27, 2009. Zachary's classmates, family, and friends begin to leave flowers, toys, notes, and photos on the sidewalk in display of love, grief, and support for Zachary's parents. The original memorial continued in this fashion for the next twelve months.
- Fall 2010: A "yarn bomber" and guerilla street artist named Streetcolor decorates the corner. Around the same time, community members from the University build an informal alter at the intersection in observation of Día de los Muertos. The alter is elaborated upon by Zachary's family and the 2010 celebration of Día de los Muertos inspires Zachary's father to write a DIY book called Ofrenda: A Handbook for Remembering.
- December 2010: A replica of a City of Berkeley street sign, bearing the name ZACHARY'S CORNER, is mounted below the stop sign at the corner of Derby and Warring by an unknown community member.
- 2011 - Present: The roadside memorial ebbs and flows seasonally. Zachary's family, friends, and members of the community continue to leave flowers and other items at the intersection. Zachary's birthday, the anniversary of his death, Día de los Muertos, and other holidays are active times at Zachary's Corner.
If You Wish to Add to "Zachary's Corner" at Derby & Warring
- Please be considerate of the neighbors who live near the site
- Please help keep Zachary's Corner beautiful by removing and properly disposing of items that have become an eyesore
- Avoid leaving dangerous or distracting items (glass, large signs, open flames, things that will blow away)
- Please be cautious around this busy (and still dangerous) intersection
- Consider making a donation in Zachary's name to the Oakland-based pedestrian advocacy non-profit California Walks
- Consider making a donation in Zachary's name to the Zachary Cruz Memorial Scholarship at UC Berkeley
- Consider leaving a digital remembrance at this site, or Zachary's Corner on Facebook