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anti-racism | human & civil rights | katrina aftermath

Southern Oregonians Announce Plans to Travel to New Orleans for Hurricane Relief

Ashland, OR - The Oxygen Collective, an Ashland, OR-based non-profit organization, and the newly formed Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network today announced plans to travel to New Orleans in early December. Members of both groups intend to support the ongoing grassroots hurricane relief efforts coordinated by Common Ground. Common Ground is a community-run organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support to the New Orleans communities that have been historically neglected and under served.
Common Ground formed in the days following Hurricane Katrina to provide immediate aid and long-term solidarity along the Gulf Coast. Common Ground operates a free health clinic that serves thousands, an FM radio station bringing news and information to the Greater New Orleans area, and two supply distribution centers, including the only relief center in the heavily damaged 9th Ward District.

The Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network has opened an account at the Rogue Federal Credit Union for community members to make contributions in support of their travel and safety equipment expenses. Contributions can be made directly to Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network at any branch of the Rogue Federal Credit Union.

The Oxygen Collective's biodiesel bus will leave Ashland for New Orleans on December 2. Other residents are planning to fly from San Francisco to New Orleans. A send-off benefit event is planned for December 1 at the Mobius in Ashland. "Bound for Common Ground: Ashland to New Orleans" will include a luscious desert buffet beginning at 8:30 PM followed with music from DJ Lava Machete and a special guest at 9:30 PM.

"In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Gulf Coast communities were devastated by widespread flooding and destructive winds. The subsequent failures of the government to provide adequate aid and relief shocked and appalled many of us. I am eager to offer my support to the amazing grassroots efforts of Common Ground," said SOU student Regina Castellon.

Local resident and educator Peter O'Connell traveled to the region two months ago to work with Common Ground. He is planning to return again with the Oxygen Collective and Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network.

"I will never forget the images of desperate people suffering the initial tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. This tragedy has been compounded by the failures of FEMA and the federal, state and local governments to adequately address the needs of the affected communities. Into this void, Common Ground has stepped in to do the work that needs to be done," said O'Connell.

Donations to support the efforts of the Oxygen Collective and Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network can be made by depositing checks made out to "Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network" at any branch of Rogue Federal Credit Union. Donations can also be mailed to Southern Oregon Gulf Coast Relief Network c/o Oxygen Collective, PO Box 533, Ashland, Oregon 97520.