Some of the more positive outcomes for Heart Rising that resulted from the Almeda fire have been the partnerships we have formed with other organizations aiding fire survivors. We have been blessed to be able to aid several populations since 2020, but the Hispanic community was particularly hard hit. That is why we are giving over our space this month to promote a wonderful event and fundraising endeavor coming up in May produced by one of our partners.
This Memorial Day Weekend, the Ashland World Music Festival (AWMF) invites the public to live, in-person, storytelling – music, dance, and visual art offerings — from cultures around the world! The festival features culture-bearing performers and visual artists at the Bandshell in Lithia Park as well as teachers at live events, along with a weekend of “SoundWalks” through Ashland’s downtown cityscape, drawing visitors and residents through the scenic downtown area and encouraging foot traffic to local businesses.
All AWMF events are produced through a collaboration between Rogue World Music (RWM) and the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (APRC) and are free. Regional sponsors include the Chamber of Commerce, SOU, Heart Rising and many others.
But this is also a fundraiser, and all funds raised this year will be donated to Coalición Fortaleza, a local organization dedicated to restoring the lost housing and neighborhoods of the Rogue Valley Latino/a/x community, disproportionately impacted by the Almeda Fire. This is RWM’s third fundraising festival for fire survivors. The 2020 and 2021 fundraisers raised approximately $10,000 each towards fire relief. The goal for the 2022 AWMF is to meet or exceed that amount.
“RWM’s mission is to build community & connection through world music experiences. We feel that the AWMF is the perfect opportunity to inspire community, create shared moments of joy, and catalyze support for fire recovery.” ~ Ana Byers, RWM Executive Director
Over 2,500 structures burned in the Almeda Fire, mainly impacting Latino/a/x, low/fixed-income, and elderly Rogue Valley residents. While rebuilding has begun, housing for disproportionately affected community members is an ever-present need. Coalición Fortaleza is a local nonprofit focused on addressing housing needs for this community.
For more information on the festival and to contribute go to: rogueworldmusic.org. Donations through RWM will qualify for a tax credit if matched with a gift to the Oregon Cultural Trust. For more information about Coalición Fortaleza, visit coalicionfortaleza.org. Sophia Blanton, Development Director for the RWM, and I hope to see you there!