In Memoriam: Al Weinrub 1943 – 2023

The California Alliance for Community Energy honors the life and legacy of Al Weinrub, a true Energy Justice champion and our founder. We officially recognized him as a “Lifelong Energy Justice Champion” with a special award presented to him in April, 2023, about four months before he passed away. Please join us in honoring the life and work of this extraordinary justice visionary through this video tribute (opens in YouTube).

Articulate, outspoken and dedicated, Al led the fight for energy democracy. He helped form and/or was central to the thinking of many organizations. In addition to the Alliance, these include our sibling organizations:

All of these organizations are committed to bringing about energy system reform, and to all of them, Al gave important guidance and support. 

Ever a fighter, Al worked to advance energy democracy right up to the end of his life. Even as he battled multiple health issues, he produced a damning piece about California’s corrupt, corporate, centralized energy system, The New Renewable Energy Tyranny for the Nonprofit Quarterly. His 2017 book Energy Democracy and 2021 article Power to the People: Why We Need Energy Justice in Nonprofit Quarterly laid out the fundamental requirement for equity and energy justice in the energy system.

What many of us only learned after his passing was Al’s long history of working for many different progressive initiatives. These efforts included  serving as one of the originators of Science for the People, supporting the work of the Black Panthers, raising support of many kinds for the liberation wars in Central America, supporting union efforts in the United States, and many more.

Al would usually describe himself as a writer. As a testament to the fact that many agree with this assessment, we are excited to share that Al’s extensive published writings will be housed in the UMass-Amherst Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives

“What’s special about this collection is that it … shows the diverse political activism a single activist-scientist has engaged in over the course of his life… Weinrub went on from founding SftP to supporting anti-imperialist labor struggles in Central America… (and) brought these experiences together in his more recent efforts to advance the cause of climate justice by building a movement to democratize energy in the U.S.”

from UMass Announcement of the acquisition, August 23, 2023

The Al Weinrub Justice Papers, consisting of Al’s writings from his organizing and justice work for over 50 years, will be available to historians, scholars, and activists for years to come. You can make a contribution to help digitize those writings at the Al Weinrub Justice Fund.