Onward Towards Equity, Vol. 2020, Issue 7
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Some of my favorite memories as a kid in the 1980s are of my Aunt Claudette bringing me to work at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference national office on Auburn Avenue. The people there "poured" their stories and hopes into me during that time, which in many ways prepared me for what I am doing today. The memories embedded in my mind from those experiences and many of the Civil Rights Movement veterans who have transitioned since those days has made my heart heavier than usual this past week. While dealing with the deaths of our brothers and sisters at the hands of police, rising COVID-19 numbers, and the aftermath of social uprisings against systemic racism, we lost more titans of the Civil Rights Movement - Emma SandersCongressman John LewisRev. C.T. Vivian, and Charles Evers - not to forget Rev. Joseph E. Lowery earlier this year. 

We stand on the shoulders of these servants of humanity and others who came before us. And as our elders make their transition to ancestors, we must continue to run in the marathon relay race for racial equity. Let us honor their memory by getting into more "good trouble". Let us take up the baton and finish the race for justice. Let us vote to make sure that public policy reflects the values of the "Beloved Community" instead of greed, fear, and violence. 
The focus of this month's Onward Towards Equity is our youth engagement work and the timing is not lost on me. We at the Partnership for Southern Equity firmly believe that youth engagement and leadership are essential to the Equity Movement. Most of our Civil Rights Movement servants were young when they led marches, boycotts, and sit-ins. Our hope is that the young people who are poured into by PSE's work today will be inspired and prepared to carry on the work of equity in order to realize a new American South. A place where the systems of white supremacy are dismantled. A region where everyone can reach their full potential.

Rest well, elders. Thank you for your light that guides our journey. We will press on.

Nathaniel Q. Smith, Jr.
Founder and Chief Equity Officer
The Youth Equity Army is getting in formation! The second KTSE Summer Southeast Youth Chat and Chew: "Keep That Same Energy" on July 8 took us to a new level! The conversation did a phenomenal job of generating ideas around ways Southeast youth can combat inequities and how to motivate a network of equity youth warriors to support each other in efforts across the region.

Join us on August 12 for the final installment of the series entitled "Hella Deep: Wisdom from a Community Leader". Youth leaders will share some inspiring stories of the good they have seen and the changes that are coming. Additionally, we will all hear from Nathaniel Q. Smith, Jr., Founder and Chief Equity Officer of Partnership for Southern Equity, as he imparts some wisdom on us all to go forth and be the change we want to see in the world.
Just in case you missed them, please check out our "Office Hours" Watch Parties on Facebook. Office Hours was an interview series with the mangers of each of our portfolios (Energy, Health, Growth, and Opportunity). The 30-minute interviews covered foundational information about the work that each portfolio does to fight for equity every single day and the manager's journey from student to young professional.

One last thing, any young people, ages 16- 25, living, working, or going to school in the American South, are invited to apply to the KTSE Ambassadors Program. As with PSE’s other organizing strategies, we are looking for leaders to create ‘equity hubs’ on their campuses in communities where strategy and discourse can take place to change the landscape of policy and systems for under-served and under-resourced communities.
Become a KTSE Ambassador
The Transformation Youth Academy (TFA Youth) started this July 13 for its second year with a socially distanced in-person kick-off at the City of East Point's StationSoccer Pitch with the remainder of programming going online.
  • The Just Energy Summit 2020 (#JES2020) is officially going virtual September 28-October 2! Our Just Energy Circle and regional planning team partners are building out sessions like Democratizing Rural Electric Cooperatives, Health Equity & Climate Chang & Centering Race in Energy Equity. Registration opens in August!
  • 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. Check out this article from WABE Georgia Power Shut-Off Freeze Ends As Summer Heats Up And Pandemic Drags On.
  • 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, with another legendary Georgia summer approaching, 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.
  • Most have heard the news but it is with bittersweet hearts that we officially announce that Just Energy Manager Eriqah Vincent will be transitioning out of her role at PSE. So much of what we have accomplished as an organization, a team, and as the Just Energy Circle, is due in no small part to Eriqah’s passion and leadership.

    Eriqah will not be going far at all. She has accepted an unbelievable offer to serve as the new Network Director for the Power Shift Network, a Black Woman-led network and organization staffed by young people that support youth organizing. Eriqah’s last official day at PSE will be Friday, August 14, 2020 but she will be with us for the 2020 Just Energy Academy graduation on August 15! We will miss her but wish her well and take pride in knowing that we have another ally out there fighting for racial equity! That also means we're hiring a new Just Energy Manager. Apply today!
  • This month was another busy one for the Just Growth team. The team assisted in re-granting $100,000 from PSE's COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund supported by the United Way of Greater Atlanta and the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. We are looking forward to having presentations by our 20 grantees at the end of the month.
  • We had a great Regional Leaders for Equity (RLE) Virtual Chat and Chew to continue to fine-tune our upcoming RLE programming that will be launched within a month!
  • The Just Growth Circle met and decided to have more frequent meetings, going from gathering bi-monthly to every month.
  • Linnea Halsten, the Just Growth team's Racial Equity Fellow, is ending her fellowship as she starts her next chapter. She is grateful for everyone she has been able to work with during her time with PSE.
  • In East Point, we released a city-wide successful virtual survey to better understand the perceived needs of the community.

  • Our children don’t need charity! They need investments that ensure full access to an excellent education, which is a core principle of the Just Health Circle. Join Brittany Collins, Dr. Stan Sonu, and Dr. Robert A. Hahn for the next Health Equity: Urgency of Now webinar titled, “Educational Equity: Investment Not Charity”, on Thursday, July 30, 10 a.m., which will examine how the unequal distribution of resources has disproportionately affected the education of Black and Brown children.
The Just Opportunity portfolio is seeking thirty (30) young men between the ages of eighteen to twenty-four (18-24) who are passionate about combating systemic racism and social justice to participate in the Georgia Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (GABMOC) Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The GABMOC is a collaborative of several metro area organizations looking to provide guidance, training, and programming to improve opportunities for young men of color across Atlanta. We believe that these young men are worth our full consideration, and that our efforts & strategies should be channeled to guide them to their desired outcomes. If given a level playing field, we believe they will excel in a way that benefits themselves, their families, and communities.

These young men will help build the advisory council while informing the work of the GABMOC initiative. Participants will also be provided leadership and professional development, including training on racial equity and community organizing. After participating in the YAC, we anticipate that these young men will be equipped and prepared to serve their community as leaders advancing social justice.

If interested, please fill out the YAC Application or copy and paste the link below into your browser.

Men over the age of twenty-five (25) are also welcomed to apply to serve as mentors to the YAC. If interested in being a mentor or for questions or other information, please be sure to reach Daniel Rosebud of Project Moguls at or Just Opportunity Program Manager Sterling Johnson at
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.
Organizing for Opportunity (OFO) is the Partnership for Southern Equity’s community organizing training for its growing list of partners, staff, organizers, and members of the community who desire to learn successful organizing strategies. Last month we held two mini-sessions, an office hour, and a 2-hour digital organizing training with Becker Digital Strategies. Altogether, we had more than 75 organizers and community leaders from around the South join OFO training sessions in June and July. Thanks to all who joined us! Please stay tuned for future OFO training opportunities and recaps of past sessions.
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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