On January 13, we honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a special project in partnership with the NAACP, installing solar on a transitional housing facility in Los Angeles for domestic violence survivors. The Jenesse Center was founded in 1980 by five African American women, themselves survivors, and provides a range of services to help women and their children reclaim their lives. Several of Jenesse’s clients came out and participated in the installation with us, and we’re working with Jenesse to develop a training partnership for women interested in solar careers.
But those aren’t the only things that made this project special. It was born out of the NAACP’s vision for a “Solar Equity Initiative,” a national partnership with solar and nonprofit groups to drive equitable solar policies and connect communities of color with solar power and solar jobs. The Jenesse project was both the launch and the proof of what partners working in concert can accomplish. The installation came together in just three weeks, from the seed of an idea to panels on the roof, with everyone pitching in: module donations from Jinko Solar; financial support from Sunrun, Vote Solar, United Methodist Women and SEIA; volunteers from Jenesse; and a lot of hard work from NAACP leaders and the GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles crew.
When Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech in 1963, he invited his country to dream big, to lay out a vision of a just future, and then get to work building it. There’s still so much work to be done to achieve the dream Dr. King laid out that day, but we’re proud to be doing our small part alongside partners like NAACP, the folks at Jenesse, and all the incredible people and organizations that show up for environmental, social and economic justice every day.
Tim Sears and Erica Mackie
GRID Alternatives Co-Founders