Smoky Valley assisted by Rogue Action Center

On Friday, Sept. 1 Elib Crist-Dwyer and Nicole Greider from Rogue Action Center delivered a pallet of water, eight large air purifiers and filters, N95 masks and food boxes to Illinois Valley Wellness Resources to help locals affected by hazardous air quality from the wildfires and to help care for unhoused residents in the Illinois Valley.
RAC came to the rescue when Illinois Valley Living Solutions volunteer and outreach coordinator Connie Dillinger was in contact with them Aug. 30 and asked them for assistance.
Dillinger spoke with Dwyer and let him know the needs the Illinois Valley was having with unhoused residents and fire evacuees.
“I was informed that they had air purifiers, water and other things we might need.
I really knew there was another 501(c) 3 out there; just had to ask,” explained Dillinger.
“I’d like to collaborate with them in so many ways; they could be the ‘gateway’ to other funds we desperately need in order to get the transitional house in order, since they have been an organization that assists communities. RAC has wanted to do something in the Illinois Valley for some time, just didn’t have a name or organization to call upon. Now here we are, getting things for OUR community.”
According to their website, “The Rogue Action Center (RAC) was founded in 2017 as a community-based organizing group to effectively confront entrenched power structures rooted in white supremacy and exploitation, fill in local gaps in social justice organizing capacity, and to be a movement partner in the long-term effort to make progress on the racial and economic challenges our community faces. Housing justice organizing and policy work, the LGBTQ+ Listening Project, and organizing for welcoming and inclusive communities where everyone can feel safe enough to participate in local civic life have been the core issues the RAC has focused on prior to the impacts of Covid-19 and the Almeda and Obenchain Wildfires of 2020. Since 2020, the RAC has joined local partners at SO Health-E and Rogue Climate to set up and run the Phoenix-Talent Fire Relief Center to support wildfire survivors and organize for a recovery that brings all displaced families home as soon as possible.”
The mission of RAC is “to build organizing infrastructure, leaders, and community power for a just, inclusive, and sustainable Southern Oregon for everyone.”
“Our board and staff teams live in our service area of Jackson or Josephine County, and are impacted by the issues we organize on,” the RAC website provides. “We are renters; people of color; queer youth; people with lived experiences of poverty, houselessness, and disability; community organizers with decades of collective experience; experts n our community; children of immigrants; rural white racial justice accomplices; low wage workers; educators; parents; and community leaders. Our experiences as Southern Oregonians guide the RAC’s work to build a space for rural people to grow and to stand up for strong institutions that benefit our community, especially those most impacted by housing-insecurity, economic disparity, and white supremacy.”
On the inception of the Disaster Relief Team, the website provides this statement: “The RAC has been one essential partner in providing immediate mutual aid for survivors of the Almeda Fire and organizing for a rebuilding effort that centers the needs of those displaced while moving us forward on racial and climate justice.
“Based on the lessons learned from our relief efforts we have formed the Disaster Relief Team (DRT) to respond to future disasters in the region. We have assembled a network of organizations and individuals who could contribute to mutual aid efforts throughout the region.
“The RAC is in constant communication with displaced families, ensuring our work stays responsive and accountable. Since the fire, the consistent priorities we are hearing from displaced families are staying part of the process so that nothing is decided without the voices of those most impacted, and to organize for the accessibility. Affordability, and racial justice solutions that are necessary for all displaced families to return.
“To become involved in the DRT project or to learn more contact Elb Crist-Dwyer at elbarogueactioncenter.org.”