Casting a Glimpse of Hope

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A multicolored disc and plaque were installed near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Heathercliff Road to honor Emily Shane, the Malibu teen who was killed by a reckless driver while walking along PCH in 2010. On Monday, Aug. 9—what would have been Emily’s 25th birthday—parents Michel and Ellen Shane revealed the Rainbow Halo installation to honor her life, but also raise awareness about traffic safety.

“There’s a really positive significance to rainbows and this installation hopefully will help to save lives,” Ellen said during the art installation gathering at Fig Ranch at Sterling Farms. “Our hope is when people see it, they know that it signifies a death and to kind of caution people. That’s what we hope will happen and it will save others the terrible pain, grief and loss that our families had to endure because of unsafe driving.”

Emily’s plaque reads, “Rainbow Halo honors people killed in traffic crashes. It casts a glimpse of hope for safer, healthier streets. Subject to the power of the sun, no matter how many times you see this light display, it will never appear exactly the same twice.”

Rainbow Halos are art installations created through a partnership of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Department of Cultural Affairs and SoCal Families for Safe Streets to honor those killed due to tragedies on the road. Designed by artist John Morse, it was created to cast a glimpse of hope for safer, healthier streets. In 2019, LADOT began installing 100 Rainbow Halos around Los Angeles at locations of traffic fatalities.

Among those gathered on Monday was Jeri Dye Lynch, mother of Conor Lynch, a 16-year-old who was struck and killed by a distracted driver in Sherman Oaks in October 2010, just a few months after Emily was killed.

“Jeri established a foundation in her son’s memory that … supports new and existing programs that raise awareness and promote the safety of people like runners, pedestrians, cyclists and drivers—anything related to people who are around the roads in the city—and the goal is obviously to have safe streets,” Ellen said. “It was actually Jeri who made me aware that there was such a thing as a Rainbow Halos, and when I read about it I thought it would be so fitting for there to be one here in Malibu, to honor Emily.”

Conor received his Rainbow Halo in September 2019, located at the intersection of Addison and Woodman in Sherman Oaks.

“I think Emily would be really happy to know there were people here remembering her at this gathering,” Ellen said. “Whether or not you knew her, it doesn’t really matter, but you’re marking her special day on what would have been her 25th birthday.”

Michel was the one who revealed the art installation to the crowd. Shane mentioned the lives lost due to COVID-19 and the heartache death brings to people. 

“It’s hard, 25 years, but it really got me thinking today of the hundreds of thousands of people in the past 18 months that had needlessly lost people because of COVID, and the broken hearts that are out there because of—it’s brutal,” Michel said. “You survive and life goes on and you live with a hole in your heart; it’s always there and it never goes away.”

Michel mentioned that he was working on a documentary about PCH and said the film looks at the beauty of Malibu but also the tragic death of Emily.

“Emily would want us to be happy; Emily would want us to celebrate her life and that’s how I live my life everyday, in celebration,” Michel said. “I wanted to make this film not for any reason but to bring awareness—[and] some anger.”

For the month of August, the Emily Shane Foundation is partnering with the nonprofit 3 Heart Strings to create unique bracelets and bring awareness to the foundation. All of the proceeds benefit the foundation’s SEA program, providing tutoring to struggling students. Those interested may choose from the bracelets created specifically for the foundation or customize the variety of fabrics and accessories, starting at $5. The Emily Shane Foundation will also host its annual butterfly event fundraiser at Alumni Park at Pepperdine University on Nov. 14, 2021.