Oct. 2020 — Oregon Leaf

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EXPERT OPINION

Heavy Hearts+ Helping Hands This year has been a test in resilience and character - an onslaught of dramatic, traumatic and downright intense events that will be highlighted in history books for future generations.

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Let’s face it, things won’t be getting easier for a while, even once our state is free of fire.

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rom a modern human rights movement during a global pandemic to devastating wildfires, we have watched our friends, family and fellow Oregonians fight hatred, disease and flames, with a decent amount of disinformation on top of it all. This year has been divisive and destructive. But like many tough times, that division has given us clarity amidst the destruction - and room to rebuild. We have seen racism and brutality, but we have also experienced determination and unity. We have seen disaster and loss, but we have also embraced our neighbors and community. One inspiring case of compassion began with family-run, recreational producer Benson Arbor. After a few days of watching fires rip through the lives of locals, they kicked off the “Benson Arbor Southern Oregon Fire Relief” fund. Within a single day, their generous $10,000 donation was matched by House of Leaves. By day three, an additional $20,000 was contributed when Redwood Cannabis and Grown Rogue stepped up to sponsor. The donations from companies and individuals alike continued to roll in and by September 15 (just one week later), the fund had raised over $89,000 for affected families! Amid many organizations scrambling to scrape together assistance, this fundraiser is just a tiny glimpse of humanity’s hope. But it will take much more than money to make the change we need to see. Let’s face it, things won’t be getting easier for a while, even once our state is free of fire. The battle for equality is an uphill one, the threat of COVID is still HOW YOU CAN HELP looming around every corner, and the » Benson Arbor effects of climate change are chasing Southern Oregon closely behind us. We are nearing the Fire Relief fund November election and that weight tinyurl.com/bensonarbor you’re feeling isn’t just the tension in the air: It’s the weight of generations » American Red Cross of inequality, of life without health Western Wildfires fund care, of impending infernos. tinyurl.com/redcrossfires But heavy hearts can produce help» Fundraisers happening ing hands as the gravity of 2020 sets across the state in. Let’s continue putting those hands tinyurl.com/oregonwildfires to work lifting up hearts heavier than our own. Amanda Day is a multimedia artist and journalist based in Eugene, who has worked for Oregon Leaf since 2019.

STORY by AMANDA DAY @TERPODACTYL_MEDIA | ART by @GIBU.ILLUSION