In less than 1 year we have mobilized hundreds of individuals and distributed thousands of dollars to support our most vulnerable community members...
...and this is only the beginning!
How It 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 even ended up in our little valley. 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 today and some hold leadership positions!
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.