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Director Shalanda Baker Leaves a Legacy of Justice and Equality for All and Opens the Door for Those Who Follow

By Francis Page, Jr.

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    June 18, 2024 (Houston Style Magazine) — Since the inaugural day of the Biden-Harris Administration, my mission has been clear: to revolutionize the energy system, ensuring it benefits all Americans. Over the past three and a half years, I have had the honor of expanding and transforming a once-obscure office into a beacon of hope and progress—the Office of Energy Justice and Equity. As its Director, and as the Secretarial Advisor on Equity, I have dedicated myself to highlighting energy injustices and championing a vision for a just transition to clean energy.

My journey began not only as a scholar and policy enthusiast with a deep commitment to energy justice but also as someone who has personally experienced the legacy of energy and environmental injustice across generations. This dual perspective has driven my work and passion in this role.

Expanding and Renaming the Office

One of my first significant achievements was the strategic expansion of the office, both in size and budget. This growth allowed us to amplify our efforts and impact, enabling us to address systemic energy injustices more effectively. Recognizing the need for a name that reflects our core mission, I spearheaded the renaming of the office to the Office of Energy Justice and Equity. This change symbolizes our unwavering commitment to equity and justice in the energy sector.

Advancing Justice and Equity

Under my leadership, the Office of Energy Justice and Equity has made remarkable strides. We have identified and tackled energy disparities, ensuring that marginalized and underserved communities have a voice and representation in the clean energy transition. Our initiatives have focused on creating inclusive policies that prioritize the needs of all Americans, particularly those who have historically been left behind.

Our efforts have not only been about correcting past injustices but also about setting a new standard for the future. We have implemented programs that provide resources, support, and opportunities to communities, enabling them to participate in and benefit from the clean energy revolution. Our work has been guided by the principles of fairness, inclusivity, and sustainability, ensuring that the transition to clean energy is just and equitable for everyone.

Personal Commitment to Energy Justice

This role has been more than a professional endeavor; it has been a personal mission. As the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of individuals who have endured energy and environmental injustices, I carry their stories and struggles with me. Their experiences have fueled my determination to create a better, fairer energy system. This personal connection has deepened my understanding and commitment, making our achievements even more meaningful.

Looking Forward

As I transition from this role, I do so with a profound sense of humility and growth. I am more committed than ever to advocating for a just and equitable energy system. I leave behind a strong, dedicated office that will continue to advance justice and equity, striving to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

A Call to Action

The journey toward energy justice and equity is ongoing, and it requires collective effort. I urge everyone—policymakers, industry leaders, community advocates, and everyday citizens—to join us in this mission. Together, we can create a future where clean energy benefits all Americans, leaving no one behind.

In closing, I am grateful for the opportunity to have led this transformative work. The progress we have made is a testament to the power of dedication, collaboration, and an unwavering commitment to justice. Let us continue to work together to ensure that the promise of clean energy is realized for everyone, now and for generations to come.

For the latest updates and insights on our work, visit Houston Style Magazine, your trusted source for community news and impactful stories.

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Jo-Carolyn Goode

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