• Spotlight on Jonathan Levitan

    By Marie McGrath | Posted Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

First cousin builds West Coast TLLM campaign

Jonathan Levitan, a high school junior, creates legacy to save lives and end distracted driving in honor of his eldest first cousin, Merritt Levitan, killed by a distracted driver in Summer 2013.

When TLLM was founded in 2013, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Merritt Levitan was my cousin, and I wanted to honor her through this cause.

That day, I put on my very first blue TLLM bracelet, and I haven’t gone a day without it ever since.

My course of action was a simple one: I shared TLLM’s mission to everybody who would listen at my middle school, my synagogue, my summer camp or any other community that I was a part of. Before long, more than 200 people, mostly in my Bay Area hometown and in Chicago, where most of my camp friends live, had joined me in monthly TextLess Days: From eight in the morning until five in the evening on the first Monday of each month, we all agreed to put away our cell phones, opting instead to live in the moment.

The goal of each TextLess Day is not only to fight distracted driving and honor Merritt’s memory, but also to take a moment to appreciate the world around us.

As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Since then, I’ve managed a growing email list of TextLess Reminders that I still use today. My course of action was and has been simple, but it has made an impact in its own way.

Since I launched my campaign, so many new opportunities for involvement with TLLM have been born. A partnership with Students Against Distracted Driving (SADD), monthly TLLM initiatives, a brand new New Year’s Resolution campaign, and more highlight a few of the ways I, or anybody, can get more involved with the cause. Now that I know more, I’m excited to explore my options and to do more in the future. If you want to join any of these exciting new TLLM actions, click here.

Recently, I reflected on the significance of each and every blue bracelet. I feel a sense of pride to be a part of something so important every time I see a friend, or even a stranger, wearing a blue bracelet. It proves that people really do care, and that what we are doing really matters.

I’m excited to continue spreading the word for a cause that means the world to me. If you’d like to sign up for my monthly e-mail list, click here. Thank you!

It means so much to me just to know that across the nation, thousands of people wear the bracelet every day in honor of Merritt and the cause.

Guest blogger Jonathan Levitan is a Junior at Marin Academy in Marin, California. Jonathan was 11 when he lost his first cousin Merritt Levitan to a distracted driver who was texting behind-the-wheel.

TextLess Live More, a student-led national awareness campaign to end distracted driving, prevent crashes associated with distracted driving and save lives, was founded in Merritt’s honor.

The Levitan Cousins

From Left: Hunter Levitan, Jonathan Levitan, Joe Levitan, Jacqueline Levitan, Merritt Levitan (center), Joshua Levitan, Ashley Katzenstein, Hayley Katzenstein.