Revolutionary Power: Reflections from the Book Club

(09/2021) The Reclaim Our Power Utility Justice Campaign (ROP) had the opportunity to celebrate, and grow from, the wisdom of one of our heroes this summer. Over three sessions, members of the campaign read, debated, and integrated the brilliance from Revolutionary Power, a book authored by Shalanda Baker, co-founder of Initiative for Energy Justice and the first ever Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Biden administration. 
We asked the convenors of the ROP book club: "How do the lessons from Revolutionary Power inform your work for a just energy system?"

Gabriela Orantes, North Bay Organizing Project: 
One of our goals and reasons for choosing this book was to ensure that as a campaign, we were lifting up black leadership. Holding the book club for our campaign's leadership team and their organizational colleagues was a powerful way for us to invite others to join us in doing so. Shalanda's wisdom is shared through personal stories, through her guide book approach to policy recommendations and through her detailed analysis of community and political dynamics as it relates to energy democracy and climate justice in our home state and beyond. Shalanda's approach in this book is relatable, accessible and most importantly, timely. It was a treat to geek out with others about Shalanda's book and I encourage all who are working on anything related to climate or social justice issues to pick this book up so that you too can benefit from this amazing resource. 
Michelle Mascarenhas, Movement Generation:
It was such a joy to read Revolutionary Power along with others from Reclaim Our Power. Reading this book was like taking some vitamins — or maybe like eating some delicious and nutritious home-cooked greens. The book emboldens our movements for environmental justice, energy democracy, just transition, and climate justice. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for! And Shalanda Baker is calling us all in by sharing the stories she’s learned from on her path. The chapter on Hawaii’s big moves to shift power from the utility in order to make the islands more energy resilient taught me a lot about organizing to draw down power and resources utilizing the current systems of government. And the chapter visioning out where we are heading gave me a north star to guide us as we navigate the contradictions that will continue to come up through the energy transition.  Thank you Shalanda! And thank you LCEA and ROP for the book club!
Mari Rose Taruc, Reclaim Our Power:
Shalanda's wisdom shined through Revolutionary Power at such perfect moments for me in the Reclaim Our Power campaign. During the rooftop solar battle in California, especially in the legislature with AB 1139, Chapter 4 "The Fight for Local Power" was instrumental in not only understanding the corporate utility divide & conquer tactics at play, but also Shalanda's call for people of color to lead in redesigning these solar programs to meet our community needs. In facilitating an environmental justice discussion on the Net Energy Metering program, I found Shalanda's young story of her mom struggling to pay the bills in Chapter 6 on "Solar Segregation" to be insightful in how we would redesign the system based on Black & Brown experiences with utilities, including changing finance & funding structures that are stacked against us under structural racism. One time I referred to Revolutionary Power in a policy discussion with a CPUC Commissioner, and he pulled the book from his shelf and exclaimed "Shalanda is quite a superstar"! And with our summer bookclub overlapping with a trip I took to Hawaii, I was struck with the opening Chapter 5 "Community Energy" on her deep reflection on ahupua'a-- the Hawaiian system of land and resource management; it grounded me in a spirit relationship to energy democracy, not just an intellectual or political one. I'm so grateful for Shalanda writing this book for our movement that's both instructional & motivational.