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S1 BLOG

New York Announces More than $10.6 Million in New Grants for Environmental Justice

Social Justice NYC

Social Justice NYCAgainst the backdrop of renewed calls for racial justice nationwide in the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the state of New York announced on Tuesday a slate of grants totaling more than $10.6 million to help underserved residents access affordable solar energy. The grants will help offset predevelopment costs to address resource barriers that typically prevent low-income residents — particularly communities of color — from installing clean energy or energy storage in their homes.

The Empire State is set to provide individual grants of up to $200,000 each to affordable housing providers, community organizations, and technical service providers to assist low-income households and install solar and energy storage systems meant to benefit entire communities. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the government agency administering the program, will be hosting a webinar on July 14 to launch the grant opportunities and provide more information on the application process. The state will accept applications on a quarterly basis through the end of 2024.

This initiative is the result of New York’s landmark environmental justice legislation, which helped bring the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to life in January. The CLCPA made headlines for being the most ambitious emissions-reduction legislation in the country, thanks to its promise that the state will reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040. The CLCPA and the accompanying environmental justice bill require the state to make good on its commitments to address environmental injustice and invest in underserved and pollution-burdened communities. Tuesday’s announcement is part of that follow-through.

 

Celebrate Pride!

At Solar One, we are proud of our LGBTQI employees, partners, supporters, colleagues and friends.

 

Happy Pride Everyone. 

 

For more information on virtual events, participation and history, visit NYC Pride.

 

 

Celebrate Juneteenth with Free Online Events & Celebrations

Juneteenth image

Juneteenth imageAbraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which marked the final chapter of legalized human slavery in the United States. But down in Texas, no one was in a hurry to tell the 250,000 enslaved people there that they were free. They had to endure another two and a half years of forced servitude before General Gordon Granger read the Proclamation declaring them free on June 19, 1865 in Galveston.

Ever since, African Americans in Texas have celebrated Juneteenth as an alternative Independence Day, and the celebrations have now spread across Black America so that what was once confined to communities in Texas is now celebrated everywhere.

Tomorrow is a sobering Juneteenth. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic that has affected families of color disproportionately, and are also grappling with wave after wave of violence against Black people, a reminder that we still have a long way to go before we are all truly free. Even as protests have swept the nation and reforms to police departments are being seriously discussed in many communities, African Americans and other people of color continue to be subject to violence and discrimination based on the color of their skin.

We at Solar One want wish you a good and meaningful Juneteenth. Here are some events that you can join to commemorate Juneteenth from the comfort of your home.

Juneteenth Music Festival: Great lineup of hosts, DJs and love performers. Free global livestreaming event that runs all day on Thursday, into the night. https://www.juneteenthmusicfestival.com/

Carnegie Hall is livestreaming a speech/sermon by Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. of Riverside Church on Friday at 7:30pm: https://www.carnegiehall.org/Calendar/2020/06/19/Live-with-Carnegie-Hall-Juneteenth-Celebration-0730PM

Juneteenth Jubilee: A Night of Black Joy and Activism: A celebration with comedians, DJs, frontline organizers and more. Friday night starting at 7pm. Tickets are $5-20: https://www.caveat.nyc/event/juneteenth-jubilee-a-night-of-black-joy-and-activism-6-19-2020

Groundswell is hosting “Prepare for Power”, an evening with speeches from environmental justice activists/leaders and a live musical performance by Bartees Strange on Friday at 6pm: https://groundswell.org/prepareforpower/

Juneteenth Virtual Block Party hosted by the Coalition for Educational Justice on Friday at 12pm: www.eventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-action-virtual-block-party-tickets-109210601850

NYC Men Teach Virtual Juneteenth Education is Freedom program, Friday 4:15pm (teach-in) followed by a program from 5-7pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nycmt-showcase-education-is-freedom-celebrating-liberatory-pedagogy-tickets-104976597830

 Celebrating Juneteenth, Centre for Social Innovation, a musical performance and dialogue with Malik Work. Please note that this event is intended exclusively for Black People. Friday, 3-4pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrating-juneteenth-tickets-109699494140

The History of Juneteenth and Systemic Racism and Solutions, a discussion between Dr. James C. Anyike, Lead Servant/Pastor of Scott United Methodist Church and Tammy L. Cooper, Black History Educator and College Professor. Friday 12-1pm: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-history-of-juneteenth-and-systemic-racism-solutions-tickets-109006354942

May your celebrations give you joy and strength!

 

SOLAR ONE’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITY

June 4, 2020

George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was brutally murdered by the police in Minneapolis. Solar One mourns his death, and expresses sorrow for his family, loved ones, and everyone else who is impacted by this tragedy. We also mourn the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Tony McDade and countless others. We are all affected by acts of violence that desecrate the value of human life. Unfortunately, police violence against Black people, and people of color, is not new. Tragedies like this one remind us that we have a long way to go to realize the ideals of liberty and justice for all.

Solar One stands in solidarity with demonstrators calling for criminal justice reform and greater police accountability to the communities they serve, particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. We stand with our staff, friends, and neighbors whose diversity make us stronger and make us who we are as New Yorkers. We call upon our leaders to take last week’s tragedy, and the demonstrations that have followed, to advance the cause of justice through policies that address institutional and systemic societal racism.

We at Solar One believe that all New Yorkers play a meaningful role in efforts to protect the environment and to build a more sustainable and resilient City for future generations. The murder of George Floyd is a symptom of the same callousness and institutional racism that allows polluting industries to site facilities in communities of color, and that allows underinvestment in education and housing in these same communities. Solar One seeks to honor George Floyd’s memory by dedicating ourselves to racial justice as our environmental programs continue to evolve to meet community needs in these challenging times.

-Staff and Board of Solar One

 

Solar One’s Green Design Lab Helps NYC STEM Teachers Transition to Virtual Learning During the Pandemic

GDL Online Learning

GDL Online LearningNearly 100 New York City Schoolteachers have been able to continue offering quality STEM education to over 6,000 students through innovative virtual learning resources created by the Green Design Lab (GDL), a program of NYC nonprofit Solar One.

Since the closure of New York City schools on March 16th, teachers have been struggling to adapt their classes and lesson plans to the online environment. Working fifteen-hour days has not been uncommon, and teachers themselves have had to learn new technology and how to deliver STEM instruction, often very hands on and experiential, in the new virtual classroom.

New York City has been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, and research has clearly shown that the virus is hitting low-income and underserved communities extraordinarily hard. These are the exact communities that Solar One’s education programs are designed to serve. The city has also implemented massive cuts to in-school and after-school education programs for the remainder of this school year and for the 2020-2021 school year as well. Solar One has responded by offering its educational programs remotely and stands ready to offer its programs in the future once in- person delivery is permitted.

At the start of the pandemic, GDL quickly realized it had to shift focus from in-school delivery of hands-on programming to a virtual format that provides critical support for NYC Department of Education (DOE) and Newark public school teachers. GDL’s distance learning programs include video resources, PowerPoint presentations, interactive and real-time mapping activities, assessments and more. All resources were made available for free to NYC and Newark teachers.

In addition, our GDL team recently created a hands-on environmental STEM curriculum to accompany the documentary Point of No Return – the story of the first solar powered flight around the world. The curriculum was created through a partnership with Far West Films and is a separate curriculum that is not part of existing GDL offerings. Title 1 schools can access the film + curriculum for free.

Solar One and the Green Design Lab are committed to adapting and innovating through this crisis and into the economic and social changes that are sure to follow.

 
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