EQAT Summer of Values + Solidarity
In the midst of an activated landscape, this month has been a big moment for the Power Local Green Jobs campaign. For the first time in years, PECO was forced to listen to the concerns community members had on its proposed Default Service Program. For an unprecedented four and a half hours, state representatives, city officials, community leaders, experts, grandparents, neighbors all went on the record to voice their dissatisfaction with PECO’s plan. Participants demanded PECO make a plan to procure 20% of its electricity from local solar by 2025, cover the cost of any transition to solar instead of passing it off to ratepayers, and take the necessary steps to procure electricity that ensures a sustainable and just future for us all.
Our neighbors and leaders did not waiver on our vision, despite sly tactics and misinformation spread by PECO’s lawyers. We gave PECO a run for its money and it was nervous. When the call for local, accessible solar in our region is on the lips of politicians and community leaders alike, PECO knows we are winning. As the DSP proceedings continue, PECO has a choice: answer the call for a justice-centered solar transition in our region, or continue wasting time and resources defending short-term profits.
We must also acknowledge the struggle for justice we’re currently in. From state to state, people have been rising up to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Dominique “Rem’mi” Fells, and so many more Black people who have been killed by a culture of violence that encourages the systematic murder of Black people, often sanctioned by the US government. We are witnessing a powerful movement catch fire as many call for police abolition and a recognition that all Black lives matter. Many of us have responded to this call by joining demonstrations, donating to bail funds, or finding other ways to hold the government and corporations accountable for the murder of Black people.
The vision of the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign is to see our neighbors, especially Black neighbors, have the ability to create resilient communities: We want to see a future where the people of our region keep wealth and resources in our own neighborhoods, where everyone is properly compensated for their labor, and where our health and climate aren't compromised by fossil fuel extraction. That vision simply cannot exist in communities where Black lives are constantly under threat of state violence.
Our commitment to this vision is uncompromising. As a Board, we have decided that the best step we can take right now as an organization committed to justice and liberation is to dedicate this summer acting in solidarity with the movement for Black lives
This work will be both external and internal work. Together, we will be joining actions led by Black people calling for justice, and supporting each other to take risks. And, we know that as a white-dominant organization, it is also our responsibility to interrogate the ways we may participate in anti-Blackness and identify the best ways we can fight for the justice Black people are demanding — both as an organization and within the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign.
We are also embarking on a project (planned before the uprisings began) to reflect on our internal organizational culture. We are ten years old, and we aren’t the same as we were when we began. Our goal with this piece of work is to take the time to get clear on who we are now, in this moment. Expect to hear more on all of these soon.
These two projects, acting in solidarity with the movement for Black lives and naming our culture, are calling on us to be courageous, empowering and receptive. Since these are new and important undertakings, board members are offering Zoom “office hours” in the next week to connect and answer any questions. Sign up to join a Zoom call, here.
Of course — and PECO, we know you’re reading this — we remain committed to the Power Local Green Jobs campaign, and pushing for a just and sustainable transition to solar energy. Just yesterday, over a dozen members showed up at executives’ homes, calling for bill relief for our neighbors, a just DSP, and a long term plan for solar and jobs for the region. This summer we are digging deep on how the Power Local Green Jobs Campaign can put more energy towards racial justice, including calling on PECO to do its part to address the impacts of coronavirus on customers, while sharpening our clarity on how the organization can better reflect our culture and values within our work.
We hope that you will find ways to join us in this effort at EQAT and within your own community. Together we can build a future powered by local solar for communities that are safe for all of us.
Lee McClenon + Lina Blount,
EQAT Board Co-Clerks