This past September, the Almeda fires blazed through Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, leaving nothing but ash. Niria Alicia, M.A. in Human Rights Candidate, is a member of the community affected by the devastating fires. A few weeks ago, The New York Times wrote an article about the destruction the fires brought to Oregon.
“I'm proud to come from this community. My mother is a farmworker and my father is a former wildland firefighter and tree planter who planted more than 12 million trees in the Pacific Northwest. My memories of this valley are clean water, fresh organic food and bountiful mountain air. I never thought my hometown would become a disaster zone but on September 8th my family, community and myself, along with more than 40,000 people in the Rogue Valley became climate refugees in our own hometown. We were at the mercy of the unforgiving Almeda Fire,” says Niria.
Niria continued: “Many of our mixed-status families will not qualify and will not apply for federal aid because as some may know, FEMA is a department of Homeland Security and risking deportation on top of losing everything is not an option. With a 1% vacancy rate prior to the loss of thousands of homes and with the loss of income for many due to COVID-19, we are in a deeper crisis than what we could have fathomed. Yet in the midst of this so much hope has bloomed! Countless families and community members have stepped in to make sure our people don't go without the most immediate essentials.”
Niria Alicia and her friend, Erica Alexia, have organized a GoFundMe page
to provide hyper local, neighborhood-specific relief to their community members in the mobile home communities of Talent, Phoenix, and Medford who lost everything to the fires.