Onward Towards Equity, Vol. 2020, Issue 8
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The Partnership for Southern Equity along with the equity ecosystem throughout metropolitan Atlanta is working hard to change the fundamental systems that perpetuate inequities. And at the same time, we see the immediate need to support Black and disinvested communities. We created the COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund as a part of the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund from the United Way of Greater Atlanta and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to fund front-line organizations in their efforts to support the communities we serve: low-wealth Black communities and historically disinvested communities of color.

So far we've distributed $100,000 to more than 20 organizations in metropolitan Atlanta:
  • Touching hundreds of lives through food distributions, mental health relief, COVID-19 testing, business support, and education services
  • 85 percent of the funding we received went to Black-led organizations
  • 100 percent of those organizations primarily serve Black communities and communities of color
The focus of this month's Onward Towards Equity is on our ongoing work to meet the needs of our community along with ways everyone can get involved in the fight against systemic racism. From the Just Opportunity Circle meeting on September 23, "Health Equity: The Urgency of Removing Barriers" on September 24, and the 2020 Just Energy Summit, September 28-October 2, and so much more, there’s a lot happening. That means that there's a lot that you can do so that together we can beat the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, and build a community where all people prosper.

Let's get to work!

Nathaniel Q. Smith, Jr.
Founder and Chief Equity Officer
Support the COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund
Join us to build “Power for the People” at the virtual 2020 Just Energy Summit, September 28-October 2, 2020!
We are grateful for every day that we get to advance racial equity and shared prosperity, and we have you to thank for that. Your contributions, thoughts, prayers, ideas, and presence has sustained us for the past 10 years. And now we're looking to go another 10, 15, 20 years and more, and we need your help. 

Starting Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25, we're hosting our first Equity Sustainers Week to provide an opportunity for you to connect and contribute to the ongoing work of PSE and racial equity.  

To kick things off, we're inviting you to "The Movement Continues", a special conversation between Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer, and Dwayne Patterson, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement and Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation's new Chief Equity Impact Officer, about the past, present, and future of the Partnership for Southern Equity, Monday, September 21, 10 a.m., live on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram! Click here to mark your calendar!
Become a Monthly Equity Sustainer
Education and economic development are critically linked, but as COVID-19 has forced us into a virtual learning environment for the foreseeable future, what are the potential impacts on today's students of color who will become tomorrow's workforce?

Join the Partnership for Southern Equity and the Just Opportunity Circle on Wednesday, September 23, 11 a.m., via Zoom for "Virtual Learning Impacts on Workforce Development", a panel discussion exploring the impact of distance learning on the development of tomorrow's workforce. We will also explore best practices, innovative strategies, and potential partnerships for virtual workforce development.
Partnership for Southern Equity, ARCHI, and partners in the Just Health Circle will hold their next "Urgency of Now" webinar, "Health Equity: The Urgency of Removing Barriers" on Septemeber 24, 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. EST with Dr. Camara Jones of Morehouse School of Medicine and Brittany Evans of Emory University's Urban Health Initiative to discuss the barriers to achieving health equity and how to minimize inequities in your community!
This is not goodbye 😭 or even see you later, but an evolution of the work ✊🏾! We’re pleased to announce that Dwayne Patterson ☕, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement, will be become the first Chief Equity Impact Officer for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation effective October 7 🙌🏾. That also means we’re looking for a new Vice President of Strategy and Engagement! Have what it takes? Apply today at! Now, go change the world Dwayne!
We're Hiring a Vice President of Strategy and Engagement!
  • As of July 15, Georgia Power customers who have fallen behind on their utility bill are once again at risk of disconnection. In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and major unemployment across the state, the Public Service Commission (PSC) voted unanimously to allow Georgia Power to resume shut-offs. This decision, like many of the decisions made by the PSC will have the gravest impact on Black people, communities of color and households led by our essential workers.
  • Join the movement for a People’s PSC! @wetheplugtho is an online mobilization of energy justice organizers across Georgia that have banded together to keep pushing the Public Service Commission to be of service to the people, and to not leave Georgians struggling during COVID-19 at the mercy of their meter! Sign the pledge to make your voice heard at the polls in November!
  • Vote on Tuesday, November 3 to change the Public Service Commission! Robert Bryant and Daniel Blackman are challenging the two incumbents - Jason Shaw (District 1) and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald (District 4). Learn more about the PSC and the candidates, and vote for change on November 3. Mentions ≠ endorsements.
  • The Just Growth Circle has met twice within this past month as it begins its newly increased meetings. The Circe will have a few different Working Groups meeting outside of our bi-monthly Just Growth Circle gatherings.
  • Just Growth Manager Kirsten Cook participated as a panelist for a virtual youth leadership academy session with students from two different programs - Model Atlanta Regional Commission (MARC) and Future Leaders for Equity (FLIP) in Chicago. This came on the heels of PSE and TFA's own completion of the virtual TransFormation Youth Academy, which graduated 12 youth leaders at the end of July.
  • We were sad to say goodbye to Taylor McClain this month as she continues her pursuit of law school. We wish her the best and are so grateful for her short but important time with PSE.
As a critical program of the Just Opportunity portfolio, the Partnership for Southern Equity is gearing up to launch the Just Business Roundtable (JBR) this fall. A core group of metro Atlanta business leaders has convened since last summer to plan the rollout of this initiative and this group was recently expanded to invite several prominent anchor businesses into the fold.

The JBR is seeking to influence how metropolitan Atlanta’s private sector advances racial equity in our regional economy. We believe that businesses committed to people create an impact in communities by cultivating strong relationships with the communities they serve, strengthened through trust. Businesses that embrace equity are uniquely positioned to build community by supporting innovative solutions to systemic issues and resourcing a more economically sound and sustainable future for all. 

The roundtable will also serve to support corporate professionals seeking to advance racial equity in their industry while reshaping corporate practice. To learn more, please contact Sterling Johnson, Just Opportunity manager, and Michelle Long, sponsorship consultant.
Keep up with Nathaniel Speaks, which will allow you to keep up with our founder and CEqO on his upcoming speaking engagements around the country, and Online Events to see what other virtual events PSE is participating throughout the equity ecosystem.
Support a more equitable future today!
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