All of us in the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (“SACE”) family are saddened and angered by the continued attacks on members of the African-American community. Individually and collectively, we at SACE stand in solidarity with those who are speaking out against racial injustices and systemic racism that has festered far too long. Our team has been listening to Black voices and reflecting on the events of these past weeks, as well as the social injustices that have burdened African-American communities for generations. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. articulated so passionately and eloquently in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, the time has long since come to speak publicly on racial justice in this nation, and we at SACE want to continue to listen and to add our voice in support of this critical conversation. We stand in support of the Constitutional rights of all people to organize and demonstrate publicly and will oppose actions that erode these fundamental freedoms.
Black lives matter and Constitutional rights matter – full stop.
For centuries white society has suppressed the rights of African-American individuals and communities, which has allowed and enabled deep and systemic disparities. Today this is reflected through the pervasive inequities of our country’s criminal system, and most acutely through mass incarceration and ongoing police brutality targeting Black Americans. These same systematic disparities are exacerbated in economic, healthcare, and energy access inequities. The events of the past week have brought widespread and acute awareness of the systemic racism that undermines all of these racial injustices.
Far too many Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities are disproportionately struggling with high energy burdens, negatively impacted by air pollution and fossil fuel pollution, and too often are denied access to affordable and clean energy. Increasingly these communities are the “first and worst” to be negatively impacted by the ravages of climate disruptions.
SACE is committed to fighting for energy justice for historically disadvantaged communities who continue to be marginalized, and to doubling down on correcting racial disparities that exacerbate inequities in our energy system. Our work must be grounded in the larger context of social justice and systemic change.
We are embracing this “teachable moment” to humbly engage in self-reflection on how we – as individuals and as an organization – can challenge ourselves to be better and more aware in addressing our individual and collective contributions to correct social oppression and raise the voices of those who are already feeling the effects of climate change and who have been facing energy injustice for far too long. We support the efforts of African American communities to be fully heard and we want to join in the conversation in identifying and acting upon real and meaningful solutions.
In addition to the myriad of threats Black Americans face, our country as a whole is now witnessing existential threats to the basic, civil principles which are the very foundation of our society and our democracy. Federal officials are testing the limits of what our society will permit by stoking racism, division, and violence. Civil society contracts are being strained and pushed to the breaking point. If broken, we risk rapidly moving from democracy to authoritarianism, putting many more lives at risk.
Below is a list of organizations and networks working to address social injustice and equity, particularly energy equity, in the Southeast.
The “fierce urgency of now” compels us to stand together for justice and heal structural inequities. We are committed to doing this work and encourage you to learn more about these organizations and support their efforts as well:
- Black Lives Matter
- Partnership for Southern Equity
- Catalyst Miami
- EV Hybrid Noire
- Georgia Conservation Voters
- Georgia Wand
- Harambee House/Citizens for Environmental Justice
- Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities
- Memphis Raise Your Expectations
- Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens
- New Florida Majority
- Poor People’s Campaign
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- The Equity Alliance