Electric Black Futures

A dream of Black communities empowered and in power of their electric just mobility futures

Launching in 2024 across Atlanta, Savannah, and Albany, Electric Black Futures is a transformative project spanning three years that aims to invigorate e-mobility leadership and job opportunities in Black communities. The electric transition is a people transition and having access to directly make decisions and participate in the building of that future is crucial for just innovation. 

Not all tech is made equally. Often, the rooms where advancement is crafted does not reflect the lived experiences or culture of the people that are expected to adopt it. Occupational segregation is a common pattern we end up seeing in tech where people of different classes, races, and genders are unevenly represented in different kinds of jobs. In 2021, it was found that just 8 percent of clean energy workers were Black or African American. When broken down by energy sector, renewable fuels, energy efficiency, and clean vehicles all tied for the lowest at 6 percent. In general across the entire energy industry, Black or African American workers were underrepresented in nearly every category examined. The only sectors that achieved double-digit representation were gas and diesel vehicles (12 percent) and fossil fuel generation (10 percent). The story is clear, Black communities are not at the forefront of leading energy transformation, especially when it comes to clean energy. 

To raise awareness of this disparity as well as create and find pathways for Black communities to shape the landscape of ‘the e-mobility future’, SACE, EVNoire (EVN), and Clean Cities Georgia (CC-GA) are working in partnership with key educational institutions, city officials, grassroots organizers, and e-mobility implementation agencies to revolutionize the conceptualization, development, and implementation of innovating our transportation systems. By centering communities’ knowledge, vision, culture, and imagination, this project aims to put more Black hands at the helm of driving the direction and crafting the electric future. 

However, to see where we’re going, we have to learn where we come from. Black communities have had a painful relationship in the U.S. with transportation and energy in both past and recent history. From the system built on the metabolic energy of enslaved ancestors to the dangerous roads of the Jim Crow and Civil Rights era. The movement and transportation of Black bodies has been connected to a cycle of harm for generations. In order to transform an energy and transportation system that can also reflect Black communities’ wants and dreams, Electric Black Futures recognizes there needs to be a coordinated effort in sharing access to awareness, education, and funding that spearheads and directs people to the forefront of e-mobility initiatives and projects. 

As we build a future powered by clean transportation, it is imperative that those facing the greatest challenges are prioritized in the planning process. Through deep listening sessions and documentation of community stories and thorough assessment of community needs and dreams, we will harness community input to develop actionable strategies aligned with local, state, and federal e-mobility initiatives, workforce training programs, industry investments, and job opportunities to demand that Black Georgians should be at the heart of their own communities’ innovations.  

To maintain this north star, Electric Black Futures instills Afrofuturism in its engagement with communities. Afrofuturism, a cultural, theoretical, and artistic movement, imagines the future through the lens of African and African diasporic experiences, envisioning a world where Black communities thrive amidst technological advancements and social progress. To create Afro-futures, we have to create, as Afrofuturist Stacey Robinson coined, the Afro-now. Black communities will be encouraged to create transformative visions of e-mobility futures that transcend historical oppressions and exclusions. By combining this artistic activism with community-based data research, Electric Black Futures aims to articulate a culturally relevant vision of e-mobility that resonates deeply with Black communities and can be translated into practical strategies and tactics to autonomously manifest this future.

As Georgia emerges as a leader in transportation electrification, prioritizing community voices has the potential to shape a more just and sustainable future locally and nationally. Electric Black Futures’ dream is a future where Black communities are empowered and in power of their electric, just futures. 

If you’d like to be kept up to date with the Electric Black Futures project, you can sign up for our email list, visit cleanenergy.org, or email Madelyn Collins at info@electricblackfutures.org.

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