Bakersfield law enforcement, radio, and TV stations teamed up for the Bakersfield Together fundraiser on Oct. 18 at the Fox Theater to benefit local victims of the Las Vegas massacre and their families.
The shooting took the lives of five people from Kern County, and it left many others wounded. To help the families of the victims, organizers recommended that people donate $20 at the door although it was not required.
In addition, a local couple made orange remembrance ribbons which were sold for $0.99 apiece. All proceeds from the ribbons went to the Kelsey Meadows Scholarship Fund. Meadows was a teacher at Taft Union High School and was killed in the shooting.
Matt Pelishek, from radio station Life FM 88.3, said that he proposed the event to other stations in hopes of doing something selfless for the victims. He asked them to do something good without thinking about ratings and competition.
The evening began with a moment of silence to honor the victims followed by words from Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh.
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words, and that which cannot remain silenced,” Goh said as she thanked attendees for coming out in support of those who could have been their neighbors.
Radio stations such as Krab Radio and Energy 95.3 helped make the event possible. Radio hosts including Danny Hill from 95.3 shared their impressions of the impact that the shooting had locally. Hill said that people should be careful, but never stop living their lives.
Tim Calahan, anchor for 23ABC News, added that one of the most difficult things to hear when he covered the tragedy was that people from Kern County were killed. This motivated him even more to honor those individuals.
Members of local police and highway patrol were in attendance as well. Many of them used the opportunity to offer support to those affected as well as remind the community that the primary goal of law enforcement is to protect them.
“We want you to know that law enforcement stands with you. We support you. The very existence of the California Highway Patrol is to save lives,” said Captain Ron Seldon, of the California Highway Patrol.
Aaron Perlman and Kristen Powers, anchors for Eyewitness News, and local bands Stereo Citizen and Truxton Mile took the stage to honor those who perished in the attack. They performed Christian songs and other uplifting ballads.
Those who could not attend Bakersfield Together can still donate on the website of the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation or by purchasing Route 91 ribbons on Etsy.