As we work with partners to advance a more just energy system, our Just Partnership Principles are a guide for us and our partners to hold Vote Solar accountable to our values.
Vote Solar is a clean energy advocacy organization, working to move the U.S. to a just, 100% renewable future through policy advocacy at the state level. We recognize the inequitable distribution of power and resources that shape our energy system.
As an organization that has been historically and is currently majority white, we also recognize how our organization has had more access to power and privilege than organizations led by and centered in communities of color. We understand that in order to be successful we must help build inclusive and just coalitions of organizations and individuals committed to making positive change in their communities.
We are committed to learning from our experiences, seeking advice and feedback, and improving with each campaign. The Just Partnership Principles were established in 2020 and will be used by staff and partners to hold Vote Solar accountable to our values.
We aspire to grow as an organization in our ability to not only challenge injustice and advance just energy for all, but also to contribute meaningfully to the broad movement working to dismantle systems of oppression and build a regenerative future.
Vote Solar has a long history of advocating for strong solar policies at the state level, focusing on adding policy expertise. We value the knowledge our staff brings to advocacy work, and we also understand that our knowledge is incomplete, and that it is vital to partner and learn from organizations with strong ties to local communities and a legacy of fighting environmental injustice. We know that building trust within current and potential partnerships requires us to clearly communicate our goals and limitations, and seek to understand partners’ priorities.
We commit to understanding and acknowledging the power dynamics that provide greater access to opportunities and resources to some and not to others. By building staff competencies for bringing an equity analysis to all we do, we commit to actively improving our skills, training, and capacity to build just partnerships. We acknowledge that self-transformation takes continual learning about ourselves and the history of injustice and systems of oppression that influence our decisions, daily work, and our relationships.
We commit to educate ourselves on how energy and justice intersect, including work to dismantle racist systems, worker rights campaigns, refugee and displaced peoples, and others. To foster long-term, trusting relationships, we aspire to understand and support our partners in their intersectional, multi-issue work, beyond our immediate priorities. In this work, we welcome the emotional growth and cultural humility required in this transformation.
Honoring Frontline Leadership
Frontline communities are disproportionately harmed by dirty energy infrastructure. We value community expertise and seek out partnership with organizations and frontline leaders that have strong community ties to effectively source and elevate solutions from those most impacted. We can provide policy analysis and technical expertise to help implement our shared vision.
We will seek to build understanding early on of partners’ goals, and strengthen our understanding over time of partners’ working methodology, capacity, needs, and limitations to be able to best align how we can engage and lend support. We will be transparent and clear about our capabilities, and we will commit to following through on the roles and responsibilities we have agreed on with partners and within coalitions. We aspire to build mutually beneficial partnerships.
Building Inclusive Coalitions
We commit to bringing underrepresented voices to the tables we sit at, and to building decision-making structures within our coalitions that ensure all voices are heard. If appropriate, we will seek to do outreach to tables we do not sit at to share ideas and build relationships. We strive to not insert ourselves into campaigns where we are not invited, but rather to show and provide support when asked.
Inclusive Decision Making
We will intentionally assess how decisions are made in our coalitions, seeking equity in the process. We will think systematically about tools we can bring to the table to hold ourselves accountable to fair, transparent and equitable decision-making in our campaigns. We will also recognize and communicate transparently about our own limitations in achieving full, inclusive decision-making.
We seek to partner with individuals and groups with different backgrounds and perspectives than ours, and seek to proactively address conflict or tensions respectfully. We will train our staff in how to practice proactive conflict management across differences, recognizing the importance of feedback and accountability.