We are so proud of the incredible strides our burgeoning organization has made in a short amount of time...
In less than 6 months we have mobilized hundreds of individuals and distributed thousands of dollars to support our most vulnerable community members...
...and we are just getting started!
After the devastating murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests across the world erupted to take a stand against police brutality and state-sanctioned violence. Those marches reached far and wide, including our corner of the world in Southern Oregon. In June 2020, our founder, Kayla Wade, saw a newfound energy in their community and a need to connect new-to-organizing individuals and already-established groups in the Rogue Valley. Thus, Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity was born.
SOEquity's first meeting was held over Zoom on June 14, 2020. From there, concerned citizens met routinely to develop our mission and values and identify organizations who may be interested in joining our coalition. Many of the individuals who were at those initial meetings are still active members of SOEquity!
We have mobilized over
through community service projects, organized events, and online meetings since June.
In August 2020, a Rogue River resident approached SOEquity Leadership to hold an event to address racism and bullying amongst children of color.
Though we tried to hold a peaceful event on August 31, 2020 in Rogue River, we were met with so much violent opposition that our family-friendly barbecue turned into a protest as we stood up for our freedom of speech. Hundreds of people showed up in support of our mission.
Unfortunately, even more people showed up to spread hate and attempt to drown out our message. But we would not be silenced. Read our public statement detailing these events here.
Before we even had a chance to catch our breath, our community was met with another devastating hurdle.
On September 8, 2020 wildfires erupted across our region, displacing thousands of families and individuals. A disproprtionate number were from our Latino/a/x, low-income, and senior communities.
SOEquity stepped up alongside other key organizations and countless individual volunteers to support our neighbors who had just lost everything. We provided emergency hotel stays for over 75 families and individuals, supported the establishment of multiple donation and distribution sites, mobilized Spanish-speaking volunteers to interpret essential information, organized supply deliveries to those who did not have access to distribution sites, and much more.
We were overwhelmed with supply donations during the first days and weeks after the fire!
Now, donations have slowed, but we still need supplies for our displaced families!
This image is an original design exclusively for SOEquity by a local artist .
Check out more of their work here!
As we supported those who lost their houses, we continued our support of our chronically houseless neighbors, many of whom were directly affected by the fires. On October 5, 2020, we became the proud sponsor of the Hawthorne Mutual Aid project, which has provided over 3300 meals to unhoused folks in less than 2 months. Currently, we are applying for funding to obtain a food truck in order to make this project more sustainable, accessible, and secure for our community. Learn more about this project here.
During the fall, SOEquity Leadership has worked hard to revamp our General Members program. We are committed to offering at least one unique training per month to our members as well as providing opportunities to serve in critical roles, like a City or County Liaison. We are also partnering with local artists and businesses to provide SOEquity merch and products to our members. If you are interested in joining SOEquity, apply here.
We are grateful for the support our community has given us and the work we have been able to do as a result.
Now we are looking forward and thinking about how to rebuild our communities that were devastated by the fires and continue our fight for racial justice.
In order to sustain the work our team is doing, we must raise $50,000 by the end of the year. These funds will:
Provide living wages for our staff so we can continue our organizing work and fire relief efforts full-time
Fund essential supplies for the Hawthorne Mutual Aid project
Ensure all resources are accessible for Spanish-speaking and Deaf/Hard of Hearing community members
Help develop culturally-competent and trauma-informed volunteer trainings and educational resources for our community
...AND SO MUCH MORE!