2020 Award Winner: Denise Abdul-Rahman
Champion for energy equity in the Midwest: Denise Abdul-Rahman
2020 Dr. Espanola Jackson Solar Justice Award Winner
Vote Solar recognized the powerful leadership of Denise Abdul-Rahman with the 2020 Dr. Espanola Jackson Solar Justice Award.
Denise Abdul-Rahman serves as the Environmental Climate Justice Chair of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and recently joined staff of the National NAACP Environmental Climate Justice Program (ECJP), as the Regional Field Organizer for the Midwest and Plain States.
Abdul-Rahman employs the the programs three objectives. Reduce Harmful Emissions, Particularly Greenhouse Gases, Advance Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy, and Strengthen Community Resistance and Livability. She holds a BS in management, MBA in healthcare management and a health informatics designation from Indiana University School of Informatics.
She successfully organized over 85 attendees across the Midwest to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region V to present the “Our Power Plan.” Abdul-Rahman organized the Just Energy Campaign, and called for a retirement date by 2016, and won. In February 2016, Indianapolis Power Light stopped burning coal.
The advocacy of the Just Energy Campaign was instrumental and crucial in the defeat of House Bill 1320, that depicted a narrative that ‘solar was unfair to people of color/African Americans and therefore a fee to distribute energy across the grid should be enforced. This victory rose to national coverage with LA Times and Bloomberg News.
In 2019 to current, Abdul-Rahman has led the Equitable Clean Energy and Air Campaign #ThisISUS advocating for solar credits, Just Transition, Community solar and the repeal of SB 309 that devalued net metering and disproportionately denies people of color, low income fair access to solar. Abdul-Rahman paved a Roundtable discussion with the governor to give environmental justice a voice at the Indiana 21st Century Energy Policy
Abdul-Rahman has received the Faith Based Rev. Mozel Sanders Drum Major for Humanities Award, Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law Environmental Protector Award, and the NAACP Indiana Hazel B. Hunter Award.
She speaks at academic institutions, DePauw University, IU McKinney School of Law, IUPUI School of Sociology, Purdue University , Indiana State University , IU-Bloomington, Smith (Popular Economics Summer Institute), Butler, Wayne State-Law School, provided Keynote address for University of Chicago at Illinois (Freshwater Lab Summit), AALS Clinical Education conference, Global Citizen Year at Stanford University, Duke University and IUPUI Richard Lugar Renewable Energy Center.
Abdul-Rahman has served as a Delegate to Paris COP 21, Delegate to Global Climate Action Summit, former Vice Chair Indianapolis Air Pollution Control Board, and Thrive Indy Stakeholder. She joined the Vote Solar Access & Equity Committee in fall 2020.