On Tuesday evening about 45 EQATers gathered at PECO for our first action since the Runaround in October. We came with the intention to honor the time of year, the things we are feeling, and our resolution to hold PECO accountable to Power Local Green Jobs. For the first time, there was a large police presence there greeting us, approximately 15 bicycle cops and several civil affairs officers. It's clear that PECO was either expecting us, or particularly nervous about our action. So it was with some sense of audience and soberness that Reverend Rhetta invited us all to breathe together in the lobby to begin the action.
I was the first speaker, and intended to speak about things I am holding on to that might be holding me back from being powerful in this campaign-- but, whether moved by Rhetta, or the police presence, or some combination of the energy in the room, I ended up speaking more plainly about my fear and anger that we have to be in PECO's lobby fighting for the world we so desperately need. Fighting for common sense green energy jobs in a city with plenty of need and resources. Fighting for racial, economic, and environmental justice because business as usual spells doom for our planet. I felt angry that we have to fight for these things and sad at the state of our world.
Ingrid Lakey spoke directly after me, and her message was exactly what I needed to hear. She spoke about what she knows-- that we can be strategic and proactive and powerful in pursuing justice. That our demand for 20% solar by 2025 is part of the vision we need. I was moved by her reminder that we are in this work together, and that that is so much.
After Ingrid finished, everyone turned to a neighbor and discussed our queries:
How can PECO embrace the future?
How can we embrace the future?
What do we need to leave behind to do so?
What light can we embrace in our present moment?
What keeps us from leaving things behind?
Folks shared with each other, wrote their responses on post it notes, then shared in the large group. Passionate messages were shared about the need to do this work for future generations, the need to communicate with the PECO employees in the lobby, and the need to continue to believe that PECO can do the right thing. Then, we put our post-it responses all over the inner walls of PECO's lobby, leaving our messages with them.
As we left, we sang a song from an old ally from Appalachia, Katy Lauer: We are standing for our future, we are healing what is wrong, we are standing for our future, and together we are strong.
And I am so glad we are.