A year of reflection and unfinished transformation

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George Floyd Square on April 20, 2021, minutes after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Photo by Fresh Energy’s Jo Olson, who lives one block away from the Square.

May 25, 2021, marks one year since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. The last year has been full of trauma and grief, particularly for Black Minnesotans and communities of color throughout our state, but it has also been a year of movement building, organizing, and calls for action from policymakers.

For many, George Floyd’s murder was a moment of reckoning: a recognition that the structures and systems that enabled his death to occur needed to be transformed. This truth had been named for years and even decades by activists, organizers, and communities of color who have historically suffered from over-policing and discrimination. This was a moment to enact long-overdue change, and it was time for Minnesota to meet that moment.

One year later, Minnesotans are still waiting. Although the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin was a measure of accountability, we continue to await justice. It is past time for state action to address our unequal systems of policing and public safety and to root out systemic, structural, and institutional racism in all forms. It is time to acknowledge past and ongoing harms and to create a Minnesota that works not just for some but for all.

Fresh Energy has been on an intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion journey of our own for several years, but over the last year, we have deepened and expanded that journey with our Commitment to Anti-Racism. We have pledged to use our organizational voice, power, and privilege to speak out against systemic inequities and act in support of solutions to racist structures and systems. We have adopted Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all staff and encourage our team to celebrate the day in a way that honors its significance. Our staff-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee continues to advance practices and policies within the organization that makes Fresh Energy a more welcoming place for all, especially those who have been historically marginalized. And the strategic framework that guides all of our work has equity at its very core.

As an independent energy policy nonprofit that is speeding Minnesota’s transition to a clean energy economy, we recognize that the clean energy transition must be equitable and just. But we also recognize that an equitable energy transition requires climate justice, and there is no climate justice without racial justice.

The last year has been a time of deep reflection and a realization of much-needed change, for our state as a whole but also for our organization. We have seen that so many systems and structures need to change to create a world where all can thrive—and Fresh Energy is committed to being part of the solution.