When I first moved to Philadelphia in 2010, EQAT was launching its first campaign, Bank Like Appalachia Matters. I'm a Quaker from the Appalachian region, and I had good friends involved -- it made perfect sense for me to join the campaign; but I didn't, despite numerous invitations. It felt too hard then to invest time, energy and hope in making change, for fear of the disappointment to come if the efforts failed. I was surprised at just how irrational and stubborn I found myself around this - against my own values!
You'll probably find something your EQAT experience has in common with Elizabeth Piersol Schmidt - she's been to general meetings and actions, served on core teams, kept up with the work and supported EQAT financially. One thing that Elizabeth appreciates about this work is the ability to come to actions with an attitude of joy and playfulness - that it's part of the resilience of the work, and the organization.
When Ellen Deacon discusses her commitment to EQAT today, she starts with recognizing the importance of understanding "on whose shoulders one stands." She traces the campaign today back through social change work and philosophies building and developing long before she was avidly watching the early conversations where EQAT began, at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting sessions. She recalls A Quaker Action Group, AQAG, founded in the sixties - and the nonviolent direct action philosophy it built its approach on.
This past Sunday, I and a few other EQAT members attended The People’s Forum - a nonpartisan candidate forum hosted by Alliance for a Just Philadelphia and MLK D.A.R.E. Coalition.
For 3.5 years we’ve been targeting PECO to get them to increase to 20% solar by 2025, creating thousands of jobs that prioritize employing those from low-income communities and communities of color historically cut out from development in Philadelphia.
What are you looking forward to for the new year?
At EQAT, we are thrilled that we will welcome Tabitha Skervin to EQAT as our new Campaign Director!
Last Wednesday, I took a group of Haverford students to a non-violent direct action led by the Earth Quaker Action Team at the headquarters of PECO, the largest utility in Pennsylvania. We rose very early and took the train to the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia where we met up with the rest of the group before departing for the PECO building. Days before, several of us had attended a training where we learned about the goals of the action and prepared for the action to come. Now it was time to put all that we had learned to use.
Dirty electricity is an assault on our communities and climate. Our region suffers from high rates of asthma, smog days, and increasingly hot and wet weather. These human-made crises steal our health, security, and economic opportunity, but they hit communities of color and economically vulnerable communities the hardest.
PECO built this system and profits over a million dollars every day from it.
At this week's General Meeting, we announced that Kim has decided it is time for her to move on to new things and step down as EQAT's Campaign Director. We are all extremely grateful for her leadership and the incredible work and vision she has brought to EQAT and to the Power Local Green Jobs campaign.