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Steeped in Justice: Women's Tea Gathering for Energy Equity

By Adedamola Adebamiro and Kimberly Inegbe

To begin, we invited Black women from a variety of different locations in Atlanta, Georgia. We had participants from Buckhead, Bankhead, Decatur, and Marietta. We invited participants to join us to talk about Energy Justice over tea at Just Add Honey on the Atlanta Beltline. The recruitment process was not at all random. We wanted this event to be a safe space where participants could be vulnerable and freely discuss their experiences, so we decided to select our personal contacts for invitations. The discussion was truly enlightening as the participants shared their personal encounters with energy burden and environmental injustice. The participants shared a common demographic. All participants were West African, enabling a comprehensive exploration of energy burden and energy justice that extended beyond North American boundaries. We were able to compare cases of energy and environmental injustice present in West Africa with those observed here in Atlanta. 

The event kicked off with a brief introduction of the hosts and participants, then a short icebreaker activity where participants were asked to state one fun fact about themselves. Next, we gauged the knowledge of the participants on Energy Justice. Their knowledge varied, as some ladies were well versed with the topic, while others knew nothing about it and were eager to learn. We used this opportunity to educate our peers and share the knowledge we have acquired through the Girl Plus Environment Energy Justice Ambassador Program. The more we shared about the energy rate increase and disparity, the more eager our participants became to go out and share what they had learned. We also discussed actions that could be taken to make sure we do our part and lend our voice against energy injustice in our community. We educated the participants on the importance of staying aware of the latest developments on this topic, as the first step to truly making a change is staying informed. We also educated them on the necessity of spreading the word as it is crucial to let more people know about what is going on in their community regarding energy justice. We also encouraged our participants to actively speak out against energy and environmental injustices, wherever they come across such, and through any opportunity or avenue they might find, be it through signing petitions, attending the monthly Public Service Commision (PSC) and town hall meetings, sensitizing their contacts by letting them know how the issue directly affects us all and how it could potentially get worse if the issue is not tackled head-on.

At the end of the conversation, our major ask to our participants was to make sure they  shared what they learned with their loved ones and acquaintances. We also passed out the infographics we had printed for the event so our participants could also pass them along or use them as conversation starters when they want to educate others about energy justice. Energy rate increase is something we can fight, and we were happy to share this fact with our friends. For refreshment, we had unique teas and delicious finger foods like scones, cookies, macarons, and croissants purchased at the venue. After we all ate, drank and socialized more, we brought the event to a close.

In conclusion, the outreach proved successful, leaving our participants with increased confidence in their understanding of energy justice. They are now more prepared than ever to share information and advance our mission towards attaining clean and affordable energy for all. 

Here are a few words from our participants about the program:

"One key thing I learnt in today's meeting is the importance of awareness, you can imagine I didn't have an idea about what was going on with the Georgia power thing and was always wondering why our light bill was always going up every other month, if only I was aware and had the information I got today, I'd have been better informed, so we have to play our part in getting people aware, spread the word, spread the information so more people can come to the light of what's going on."- Toluwanieyi

"Today's meeting broadened my knowledge on energy policy in Georgia and ways to lower energy bill. With this information, I am now well enlightened on what the energy policy in Georgia is all about and as well take measures on lowering my energy bill. When it comes to equitable energy policy, we as individuals have a role to play in advocating for equitable energy through actively participating in public hearings and petitions. There is the need for us to also create awareness on energy justice in order for individuals and groups to be educated and take action. It was an insightful discussion and I look forward to more of these events."- Erica

" I learned that we are being taken advantage of by Georgia power and it is very important that we speak up and take action. Awareness is very important" - Chineme

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