I come to you to ask for your support as my partner and I literally rise from the smoke and ashes.
On Saturday, March 31st the Oakland home that Angela Wellman and I have shared for nearly 4 years caught on fire. There are 4 units in our building, 2 of which were completely consumed by the fire, 1 that sustained major water/smoke damage, and ours that suffered no fire damage but very heavy smoke and some water damage. We are both safe and thankful that neither of us was at home at the time.
To say that we are in shock is an understatement. Timing is Everything. We both very recently took big leaps of faith into passion to live in higher levels of happiness! I recently left my post as Creative Director at my company to launch a new creative entity, and my partner is in the final throws of completing her Ph.D while running her non-profit music school. All of our reserves are tapped and we find ourselves now less than 1 paycheck from displacement. I want to be clear that we know that we are not homeless - we have other resources and connections that keep us from being on the streets or living in our car. What is true, is that we are devastated and cash poor.
Angela and I have been staying with dear friends since the fire and are dismayed that we can't stay in our beautiful home ever again. This was the home our granddaughters knew and loved - their things are still there. This was the home our elder Mama-Artists gathered in to share food and stories. (We are so happy that some of you also spent time there/slept there and found sanctuary there). We now have to find a new place to call our home in the Bay Area housing market while we also go about the long process of removing the smoke and ashes from all of belongings and packing everything up for storage, and hopefully transport to a new space.
As many of you know, the cost of moving, first and last months rent and a security deposit can be extremely steep in Oakland and the surrounding areas, and it is for these exorbitant costs that we are asking for your help.
Because of our family size and situation we need a 3 bedroom home - this is no easy feat on an arts activist/educator paycheck. We've estimated that if we find a space that is $3,500 monthly, and need first and last months rent + security deposit it will be roughly 10,500, plus moving costs and replacing our damaged items including furniture.
Anything you can do will help. We would like to be able to Move In by late April and will continue to look at homes while we work in community to sustain our arts practice. We will also be hosting "de-smoking/packing parties" throughout the month so look for an invite!
Thank you so much for your love and support!
Ashara & Angela
p.s. Here are Links to our LinkedIn profiles if you'd like to know a bit more about us and our work:
Ashara Ekundayo -
Angela Wellman -
- Marielle Oetjen
- Angela Winn
- lisa dettmer
- Courtney Hoover
- Ellen Hoffman