Oakland residents and the greater Bay Area artistic community are in mourning following a devastating warehouse fire on 31st Ave and International Blvd that killed 36 people during a party on December 12th. The fire, which ravaged an artist space called Ghost Ship, has been called the worst structure fire in Oakland since the 1906 earthquake.
“A lot of people in my circles are either dead or in lots of pain, and there's a lot more that we're mourning than just the people,” said an Oakland resident who wished to remain anonymous. “Marginalized communities understand that this tragic incident -- what should have been a moment of catharsis after a brutal election -- is heralding the death knell of spaces for our types. It's like losing a limb.”
The victims of the Ghost Ship fire were at the show because they loved art, music, and community. This is a delicate time for Oakland. We must embrace grief individually, while remaining tenacious and hardy as a whole. This is a time for the entire city to coalesce, galvanize, and rally in order to protect that which makes us so special: each other.
There are lots of people within the community offering resources, advice, and money right now. If you want to help out or need help of your own, please consult this list and feel free to add to it in the comments.
Donate money directly to the victims
A Ghost Ship Residents GoFundMe campaign will give all donations “to the residents of Satya Yuga (Ghost Ship), directly funding supplies and materials needed to support their livelihood.” Donating to a Victims Relief fund will help form an oversight committee that works with Oakland authorities. Those funds will be “allocated appropriately to fire victims and with due diligence. There will be public disclosure through the fund page.”
Reach out if you are suffering from PTSD or other physio-/psychological trauma resulting from the fire
If you need physical or emotional support as a result of the fire, contact one of these generous healthcare professionals. From marriage therapy to acupuncture and chiropractic help, there is a range of free or low-cost aid for you.
Make connections if your living situation is in jeopardy
If your housing is tenuous due to safety concerns from your landlord, Diehard Security is offering free consultations and 24-hour fire watch security at “drastically reduced rates.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you know of anyone living in a warehouse, avoid talking about their specific living situations with anyone you don’t know. It’s possible that you may be inadvertently putting their housing situation at risk.
Get educated on how to make the industrial building you live in safer
Environmental health and safety auditor Kelley Keogh will offer her safety consulting services free to any underground artist space or alternative dwellings. Kelley can be reached at Kelley@sonic.net, while additional volunteer professionals can be found here. If you want to educate yourself on how to make your home safer, consult this very helpful document on harm reduction for DIY venues.
Lobby the city about live-work spaces
Make your voice heard about what types of things could be included in an ordinance covering live-work spaces. Lauren Suckit has offered their expertise in writing model ordinances and lobbying for city code alteration/replacement. Get in touch at Lauren@NLSLicensing.com.
Continue partying for the cause
This Facebook page contains just about every fundraiser show in the Bay, including a memorial concert by the Oakland City Chorus, a show at Eli’s Mile High Club featuring Shannon and the Clams, and DJs and live performances at The Golden Bull.
For anything and everything else, check this doc
This master resource list contains much of the above information, as well as other, more specific means to give and receive help.
For better and worse, as Oakland gentrifies, it squeezes out many of the artists and crucial community members who have made this town such a gem to make your way in. This is a critical moment to take extra care that the entire Oakland community -- and any city with artists who make their homes in industrial spaces are as safe as they can possibly be.