Jackson State University held their Future of Energy event on June 16. This panel discussion was hosted by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and featured five panelists with leadership positions in regional energy businesses, including Tequila Smith of Covanta.
The panelists discussed their plans for building and maintaining better, more sustainable energy for the Black community. Audience members, including Jacquie James, are also part of the solution as they were there to gain information to take back to their communities, students, and companies.
What did you think about the conference?
I loved it. This is something we need here at Jackson State, our students and our community need to hear people of color that look like us on issues that affect us each and every day. Renewable and sustainable energy is very important for us, because it affects our bottom line. We have to choose between food, medicine, and utility bills so we can have ownership on our utilities. Today’s discussion lets me know that there are people in higher positions that feel what we feel in our own communities.
We’re not always at the table. We don’t know what paperwork to fill out. We don’t have access to lawyers in order to tell them not to put these plants in our neighborhoods. So, for us to have people who help us with workforce and training is a good step for us educating ourselves so we can have a brighter future. I’m super excited. I’m optimistic. This is a whole brand new world available to us. There’s such an abundance of energy, jobs and opportunities. All we have to do is tap into it. So yes, I’m very super excited that this is actually happening.