Reckoning for Justice
One by one each volunteer stepped up to the shallow pans of water. Against a backdrop of security personnel, each one carefully leaned on two supporters and allowed a third to remove their shoes and socks and gently wash their feet. Eighteen times, Rev. Holston of POWER lay his hands on their backs and offered a blessing. They carried the blessings of all of us as they faced arrest to interrupt PECO's daily profit from dirty energy, and demand transformation for green jobs and justice.
About 50 folks came for this Day of Reckoning, when we confronted not only PECO to reckon with its role in cycles of poverty and sickness, but also ourselves to put our bodies on the line and refuse to let business continue as usual. When PECO requires the back up of police to open its doors, it starkly reveals that the utility's commitment is to its profit, not its people.
Today's action unfolded in a slow crescendo, with many moments of uncertainty. When we first arrived, our way in was blocked by security. After the ceremonial washing of the feet, the folks risking arrest moved to a side door and lay down. Then smaller groups moved to block each entrance in turn. Soon, the building was blockaded.
The actions this week, the Day of Mourning, Day of Vision, and Day of Reckoning, were inspired by the sacred stories of holy week. As Anthony Giancatarino of POWER tweeted: PECO, will you deny our request a 3rd time, as Peter denied Jesus?
Indeed, PECO has. On Tuesday, seven clergy and campaign members were arrested preaching to PECO bill payers. On Wednesday, ten youth were barred from entering, and negotiated with security to pass on their letter to incoming PECO CEO Mike Innocenzo. And today, 18 intergenerational activists were arrested and given citations for blocking the dirty energy business which is condemning our future.
We will contest these citations, because the real crime continues. And we will be back to demand PECO find new life in solar power.
Yesterday I was put in handcuffs by the Philadelphia police and led, wrists behind my back, out of my local electric utility customer service center and into a waiting police van. My crime? Sharing the truth about solar energy with my fellow PECO customers and refusing to leave when the utility got nervous about it.
|See more photos from the actions in the photo gallery on our website|