This evening I was on a panel at SPUR in Oakland, presented by Intersection of the Arts, called Safe Spaces. We discussed the various efforts following the Ghostship fire. With me were members of WABA, Oakland Warehouse Coalition, ProArts, and architect Thomas Dolan, who designed and built the first live-work in the US and had just come from Sacramento proposing new code laws to the Senate.
It was a huge honor to be on this panel, and I was nervous about being nervous. I wore Rupert’s ring and pictured him in the audience, and it calmed me right down every time. I talked about him, too.
I talked about why I helped create the Safer DIY Spaces fund, based on my grief of Rupert and the 36 souls who died in the fire two miles from my home five months to the day later. I started with, “Grief is our birthright.” How his death made me feel, among other things, helpless. How much I wanted to help after the Ghostship fire. How I channeled my helplessness and attended a meeting a week later, where I met like minded people that wanted to help, too.
I haven’t enjoyed public speaking this much in over three years. It really came together, and I’m so relieved. I felt in control and clear.
I wrapped up my presentation with my ask:
Please send anyone who needs help making their space safer to our website and have them complete an intake form
Please attend a fundraiser, use our Sparxo code when you have an event with tickets (we get the fees), host a fundraiser for us, or donate to tinyurl.com/DIYdonation.
After, I was approached by people with offers of new fiscal sponsorship (3!), lunch by a public policy grad student, and a new foundation that wants to meet me for a possible fundraising role.
What an amazing evening.