As sections of the country begin to slowly reopen, allowing most to return to work, the Coronavirus moves from the limelight to back burner. It is indisputable that COVID-19 has changed home, work, and community life. Simple things like meeting friends for dinner are no longer simple. While this is happening, job insecurity and job loss is increasing across the country . Society is changing. And for organizations seeking to work with communities most affected by COVID-19, we can no longer operate business as usual. We must study and monitor this change to better serve our customers, to stay attuned to people’s needs as needs change in a shifting environment. As a result, surveying customers and determining what their needs are is paramount in maintaining quality service during and following this pandemic.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced a major investment in solar energy with an unprecedented step in its focus on “under-resourced communities, working with local leaders and prioritizing minority and women-owned business.” This is among the early signals of a new movement that is about to grow).
COVID-19 is hitting the pocketbooks of DC residents hard and some of us are being forced to choose between food, utilities and rent. We want to help make that choice easier. We’re reaching out to inform DC renters and homeowners that if you receive benefits through SNAP, TANF, Section 8 or SSI you are automatically qualified to cut your utility bill in half through a Groundswell Community Solar Project. This means you could begin reducing your utility bill now, so you can use your money for immediate needs during this crisis. If you don’t use SNAP, TANF or SSI, that's ok - you can still qualify for this program based on household income and other qualifications.
Supporting each other is one of Groundswell’s founding principles. This — and our commitment to providing a model that truly empowers our subscribers and their communities — is why we’ve taken a small step back from our usual social media and marketing efforts to introduce a new concert series at Groundswell called Prepare for Power. Through art, fresh perspectives, and performances by up and coming performers from across the country, we hope that we can transport you beyond the news of the day and into a space where you feel supported, inspired, and hopeful.
On June 19, 2020, Groundswell will host a Juneteenth celebration to kick off our bi-weekly Prepare for Power concert series. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S., and it is an important day to celebrate freedom while making room for new leaders to cast their vision and carry the future forward.
What you do is who you are. I believe that is particularly true in this moment. We lament the murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. We cry out together in solidarity for restorative justice. But what are we going to do, individually and corporately, to dismantle more than four hundred years of systems upon systems that have deeply institutionalized racism in this country? We can say that black lives matter, but until black lives matter is true of the lived experience of every American, there’s urgent work to do.
Groundswell champions the value of transformation – deeply understanding the systems and constraints of “what is” in order to move toward “what should be.” We work with communities across the country, listening and walking beside our neighbors from many different backgrounds and income levels to hear and empower our partner communities in shaping a shared energy future. This takes a lot of work and much more time than imposing an existing system “from the top.”
This year, the Discalced Carmelite Friars of Washington, D.C., and Groundswell will continue to follow Jesus’ call to love our neighbors through the benefits created by the recently energized solar project at the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Earth Day invites us all to recommit ourselves to protecting the earth because of all the ways in which the health and quality of our lives and the lives of generations to come are bound up in the health of our planet. Committing yourself to protecting something (or someone) takes love, understanding, and an appreciation for its value. So how do we begin to love and appreciate the earth?