In the early hours of Monday, November 23, 2020, Aidan Ellison was playing music in his friend's car in the parking lot of the Stratford Inn in Ashland, OR.
A 47-year-old white man escalated a confrontation with Aidan, a 19-year-old Ashland resident and a young Black man with his entire life ahead of him.
The conflict ended with the 47-year-old man shooting Aidan, who was unarmed, in the chest and killing him.
In the following days of Aidan's death, we saw a refusal from local law enforcement and legal services to consider racial bias in the shooting of an unarmed, Black teenager; irresponsible reporting for news outlets who initially reported on this tragedy by highlighting the positive characteristics of Aidan's murderer and ignoring Aidan's identity; and apathetic responses from these entities when their problematic behavior was brought to attention. Our direct calls to action and the community's response allowed us to ensure Aidan's case was taken seriously and will continue to be taken seriously once the trial for Aidan's murderer begins.
When we take action, progress happens! Thanks to your efforts we were able to accomplish the following goals:
The FBI announced they will join Ashland PD in their investigation to determine the role of racial bias. We must continue to put pressure on Chief O'Meara to ensure they investigate this case thoroughly.
Elected District Attorney Beth Heckert has said that she would supervise this case and have all decisions and investigations run by her thanks to the community's requests. We will continue to monitor the DA's progress in appropriately prosecuting this case.
An Assistant United States District Attorney from Medford, who is being closely supervised by the Eugene office, has been assigned to fully investigate this case. An FBI agent has also been assigned and is investigating.
SOEquity will continue to support Aidan's family directly. You can by contributing to Aidan’s mother’s GoFundMe.
You can also support our efforts to develop a response team to make sure future cases are handled properly and obtain the justice that they deserve! For more information on how to get involved, email Kayla Wade.
Pictures from vigil at Jackson County Courthouse on December 2, 2020
These efforts have been organized collectively by the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity, the Law Office of Justin Rosas, Student Activist Coalition at SOU, Rogue Action Center, Rogue Climate, and individual community members. Any questions can be sent to Kayla Wade,