On a sunny and sweltering Wednesday, August 24 a small but dedicated group of EQAT activists took the Power Local Green Jobs message to workers, residents and visitors in Doylestown, Bucks County. The occasion was a noontime music concert on the Bucks County courthouse lawn, co-sponsored by PECO.
This morning I joined 21 other people, and we traveled to a PECO substation in Upper Darby. We stood sweating in the blazing August sun and humidity, as we sang, worshiped, and told stories of why we had come. Despite our physical discomfort, and my general dislike taking on public leadership, I felt a sense of cohesiveness that satisfied something deep inside me.
On Monday August 1st, I participated in EQAT’s first action outside of Philadelphia as part of the Power Local Green Jobs campaign. Teenagers who are attending the Peace and Leadership Arts Camp of Chester trained and took action with Ingrid Lakey, Ryan Leitner, Rhetta Morgan, Kaytee Ray-Riek, and me.
There are a bunch of staff changes happening in EQAT this summer. Chris Baker Evens and Matthew Armstead have left EQAT, and we've hired a full time Campaign Director, Kim Huynh, to support our campaign and volunteers going forward.
When I went on speaking tours about human rights work in Kurdistan and Palestine, I was sometimes struck by white churches that intuitively understood the links between US foreign policy and white supremacy at home. Overwhelmed by gratitude at experiencing a well-informed white community, I would say to myself, "Wow, someone put in work to make this church as radical as it is."
Earlier this week, I called L, an organizer friend, to talk about our plans for the Democratic National Convention. I asked her how her summer was going.
“Relentless,” she said. “It’s been relentless.”
In the silence after L said that, I knew without asking exactly what she was talking about.
We have been stumbling from one violent tragedy to another, watching people die on our Facebook walls, holding constant wake for a world consumed by violence and grief.
This spring, as our campaign built momentum, we asked ourselves, what will it take to win ten thousand jobs? Our strategy includes pulling new supporters together, spreading over a wider region, and integrating new tools and resources available to our volunteer organizers. This has led us to envision a bold new effort: Ignite the Light, raising $100,000.
Yesterday was the first meeting of a Solar Stakeholder Collaborative, a conference of various advocates which PECO initiated in response to our campaign. This first meeting showed how far jobs and justice still are from the conversation, but it’s clear direct action is pushing a new horizon for local green jobs!
As I tried to drive back home to Lansdowne from today's action, I was halted by firefighters, who were clearing Scottdale Road. "Stop! We're waiting for PECO!" they said. A tree had fallen on some high tension lines and started a fire. So here I am writing this blog post on my phone.
To PECO, the Philadelphia Science Festival no doubt seemed like a perfect place to present its image as a corporate leader in sustainability. PECO can educate Philadelphians about more efficient light bulbs, but we know that it can also invest in solar energy and power local green jobs.