The gala gathered many distinguished guests – clergy, political leaders, members of the Legislative Black Caucus, non-profit leaders, and others – who care about making the transition to a clean energy future that empowers all Illinoisans.
We celebrated the beginning of our work to unite people of faith and conscience in promoting political action for environmental justice in Illinois. Through political advocacy, legislative education, and grassroots lobbying, we empower citizens, clergy, and elected officials to make a positive difference in the areas of energy and climate change, sustainable food and land use, and water preservation.
As part of the gala program, we had the great honor of listening to Rep. Sonya Harper, the Faith in Place Action Fund’s endorsed candidate, encourage the audience to collaborate on energy policy that will promote clean air, lower our energy bills, and create new job opportunities available to people in all communities.
“It’s time to reverse the trend that has seen the benefits [of clean energy] go only to some communities, and not to some other states. Illinois – and I mean every single part of Illinois – needs to be part of the energy future. The time to act is now, the time for Illinois to act is now, and the time for all of us in this room is to act now.” – Rep. Sonya Harper
During the Gala we also heard Nick Magrisso, from the NRDC Action Fund, give an update on energy legislation that will be introduced to the state legislature during veto session, and emphasize important provisions that policy makers need to champion for fixing our state’s energy policy.
Mark Davis of WDC Solar shared his experiences with a solar job training program and community solar projects in economically disadvantaged areas in Washington DC. We are inspired by these initiatives, and we know that Illinois can create strong policy to emulate this success.
In order to do so, any clean energy legislation in our state must develop Illinois’ first-ever community solar program. This can be accomplished by fixing the current Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 25% renewable energy by 2025 to drive in-state development of new wind and solar projects across the state.
We also want policy makers to champion clean energy legislation that includes a workforce development initiative that would train persons with a record and foster care alumni for green economy jobs.
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and Faith in Place Action Fund board chair connected the dots between mass incarceration, environmentalism, and food justice in his keynote address. The Faith in Place Action Fund fights for these issues by educating legislators and publishing scorecards that will hold them accountable on how their decisions affect our communities, our most vulnerable citizens, and our environment.
Rev. Moss reminded us why people of faith and conscience are to lead for change “by any greens necessary” on these issues: “Scripture is clear: we are to be stewards of this planet. [We] are just given a brief time to take care of that which God has placed in our hands. One of the great gifts that we can give generations not yet born, is the gift to ensure that this planet is taken care of.”
As we grow as an organization, we hope to make a difference across many different levels of policy-making on behalf of environmental justice. You can help the Faith in Place Action Fund in this journey by becoming a member today!