A group of people are gathered in an outdoor setting, standing behind a woman with a cast on her right foot who is seated in a wheelchair.
Two men and a woman are sitting at a conference table with microphones in front of them.
A man stands near a tree and is speaking into a megaphone.
The People Justice council logo
A group of people with their fists raised in a gesture of solidarity stand in front of a table.
Two groups of people standing next to each other are posing for a photo.
A group of people surrounds a sign that says "Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument" in an outdoor space.

People’s Justice Council (PJC)

Birmingham, AL

In 2021, Climate Nexus launched an Energy Equity Regranting Project to help resource organizations, tribes, and community leaders on the frontlines of climate change and the impactful work they are doing to fight the gas industry. The energy equity transition grants prioritize grassroots groups with an annual budget of $1 million or less to boost their efforts in racially, ethnically, gender, and culturally diverse communities across the United States and at the intersections of public health and energy justice.

In our first year running the program, nine organizations received grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000, including the People’s Justice Council, whose work is detailed below. 

Overview

The Alabama Energy Democracy Coalition, led by the People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light, seeks to build organizing capacity in targeted electric cooperatives surrounding the Montgomery, Alabama, area to grow the constituency for energy and environmental justice, advocating for clean energy, and reforming democratic processes at electric cooperatives.

Activities

PJC leveraged existing capacity and hired new capacity for organizing in the service territory of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC). The organizers were tasked with the following: 

  • Better understanding of the wants and needs of local residents; 
  • Contacting and educating member-owners about their rights as cooperative members; 
  • Activating residents at critical junctures, such as board meetings and annual meetings, to increase the likelihood of success of key reforms;
  • Working with coalition organizations to inform media and communications; and 
  • Recruiting community organizations to join the coalition.

Lessons Learned

The PJC is under no illusions that change will come quickly or easily. Their ultimate intent is to institute changes at CAEC that improve the day-to-day lives of its members and make the cooperative more representative of and responsive to the members it serves. 

Future and Sustainability

PJC is pursuing the creation of energy efficiency programs that are accessible to all residents regardless of income, credit, or home ownership status, the creation of locally-owned renewable energy projects that eliminate the need for extractive fossil fuels, and governance reforms to reflect the cooperative’s membership better.

Filter Grantees by Year:

  • Earth Care

    Earth Care is fighting false solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture, and is building public awareness of the health dangers of fracking.

  • Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples

    The Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples is a forum for tribal communities to protect sacred sites and advance environmental priorities.

  • Rise to Thrive

    Rise to Thrive builds community among Women and Femmes of Color across the country to catalyze a shift of power within the environmental movement.

  • RENEW Worcester

    RENEW Worcester advances energy projects that prioritize communities and the buildout of affordable, renewable energy.

  • Viet Voices

    Viet Voices educates San Diego’s Vietnamese community about sustainability, environmental health, and accessible housing.

  • Society of Native Nations

    The Society of Native Nations works in Texas and California to contest the oil, gas, and petrochemical buildout from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.

  • The Vessel Project of Louisiana

    The Vessel Project is a mutual aid organization supporting people in Calcasieu Parish by meeting their emergency needs efficiently and without barriers.

  • VISIÓN

    VISIÓN works with community organizations to establish health and safety buffer zones between oil wells and homes and schools.

  • 7 Directions of Service

    7 Directions of Service is fighting to cancel the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s Southgate Extension and to advance Rights of Nature laws.

  • People’s Justice Council

    PJC organizes not-for-profit electricity coops around Montgomery and is organizing their constituency around energy and environmental justice.

  • Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)

    Washington Interfaith Network is working to help low- and moderate income DC households switch from fossil fuels to clean and efficient electric heating.

  • Mississippi Citizens United for Prosperity

    MCUP advances energy equity in Black and Indigenous communities by training women in clean energy contracting and project management.