Many of you know I’ve had a life-long concern about care for our environment. After decades of unsuccessful attempts to get people to reduce their carbon footprint, I’m enthused to see, and be part of the Sunrise Movement. Our strategy of building people power and political power is working.
This is where you come in. We need literally millions of people to rise up and support the Green New Deal (GND). Please consider joining the movement, and encouraging others, especially young people, to do so, too.
If you are not young (over 35 years of age), your participation is needed and encouraged. But it is important to keep in mind this is a youth led movement. “Sunrise’s decision to be youth-led and youth-centered is both a strategic and cultural one.” Those of us who are older need to step back and let the youth lead. The Sunrise Movement has some very helpful suggested guidelines for older supporters that can be found at the end of this post.
To learn about the next steps of the Sunrise Movement please register to attend tonight’s online meeting: bit.ly/next4gnd-soc
Our movement has spent the past 2 weeks sprinting, and we have so much to show for it! There are now nearly 100 cosponsors of the Green New Deal resolution across the House and Senate, including every Senator running for president.Sunrise Movement bit.ly/next4gnd-so
And it looks like Mitch McConnell is letting his Green New Deal vote plans fade away, telling the media it will happen sometime before August.
On Thursday, we’re holding a movement-wide mass call to strategize and plan next steps, including the launch of the nationwide Road to a Green New Deal Tour, the upcoming #ClimateStrike, and how we can build support for the Green New Deal locally.
42 Sunrise Movement youth were arrested Monday during a sit-in at Mitch McConnell’s office.
Young At Heart Guidelines For Adult Allies at Sunrise
Welcome! Here at Sunrise, we know that everyone has something to lose to the climate crisis and everything to gain by stopping it. We deeply respect and appreciate the wisdom, experience, and support of our elders in the organizing community and understand that we can learn a lot about social movements, fighting for justice, and what does and doesn’t work. That being said, Sunrise is a youth-led, youth-centered movement where we’re focused primarily on organizing young people: ~35 and younger. If you’re not a young person, but still want to support and organize with Sunrise, this document is the place for you!
Sunrise’s decision to be youth-led and youth-centered is both a strategic and cultural one. In the climate crisis, young people face an unfortunate reality: every one of us will see the devastating effects of climate change in our lifetime. We have inherited a crisis that we did not create— and there is a story to tell about a new generation of Americans who are standing up to protect their future. Throughout history, we have seen that youth voices hold a unique moral clarity, and the climate crisis is no exception. Choosing to focus on young people is a key part of our strategy to reach millions.
Sunrise is also filling a cultural gap for young people in the movement. Young people today have grown up knowing that the stable climate that human civilization has depended on for millennia could crumble within our lifetimes. Yet, we’ve seen political leaders continue to fail us, often laughing us off or calling us young and naive. That’s been deeply discouraging for many of us. In our society, there aren’t many spaces that trust and uplift the leadership of young people. Young people were searching for a space that would not only allow them to organize but would also give them the community they were searching for. Our youth-centered focus makes sure that we are building a community and an identity— vital ingredients to keep a movement together.
We need the support of all of you— it just comes in a slightly different form. We love the enthusiasm you’ve shown and appreciate the organizing that you’ve already done to help get us to this point! This #YoungAtHeart document will provide key principles on how to be an ally with Sunrise, suggestions of how to uplift youth leadership, and roles to be taken on. We’re also in the process of putting together a #YoungAtHeart caucus for Sunrise members that are older than ~35 and have a set up a #youngatheart slack channel for our adult/elder allies to connect, coordinate and form a community.
Principles for Young at Heart Members
● We respect the value of a youth-led movement. While we all have much to lose to climate change, young people are the ones that will face the consequences of our actions today and should be at the forefront of our movement. Young people need youth-led and youth-centered spaces to come into their own as leaders, find their voices and to learn from one another. We trust the knowledge and skills that youth bring to our collective fight and follow their leadership as allies.
● We are guides/supports, rather than leaders. We understand that local and national leadership roles at Sunrise will be held by young people, and we are allies and supporters. We keep the space open for the voices of our youth leaders before we share our own. Our life experiences are valuable and add significant value to the movement but shouldn’t take precedence over the ideas and thoughts of our youth members.
● We are Americans from all walks of life. We are people of all ages coming together for our future and appreciate that some members have many years of organizing experience and others are organizing for the first time. We respect what everyone brings and listen to everyone’s experience.
● Talk to youth leaders about what support they need. Don’t assume what information or skills are needed, ask youth leaders how adult members can best help them and how adult members can best show up in youth-led organizing spaces.
● Be aware of adultism. Adultism is the negative stereotyping of young people. We all have implicit biases and it’s important for us to be aware of them before we speak. When you see it, take a stand against it with care and respect.
● Speaking order. Leaving space for youth members to share their ideas first is a great way to support youth leadership.
● Stay in the “now.” We celebrate the accomplishments of all activists of whatever age and value learnings from the past, but spending time recounting work from the distant past (outside of designated spaces) uses precious time we need to focus on what is happening now and in the future.
Here are some concrete roles that Sunrise’s #YoungAtHeart members can step into (note: this is not a complete list but a good place to start):
● Help with fundraising: We’re a grassroots movement, and we always need more resources to continue our growth!
● Amplify Sunrise’s message on social media: We have a team of digital amplifiers, ready to share our message across social media platforms— help us get the word out.
● Providing meeting space + housing: If you live somewhere that could be a meeting space, or if you can host people during gatherings and trainings, let us know.
● Show up at Sunrise actions: We need everyone we can get at our actions— no matter your age. Show up, and be sure to uplift and center the leadership of the young people around you.
● Utilize your network: Maybe you have connections to an editor of a newspaper, a celebrity influencer or politicians. Maybe you have friends who can donate, or cook for the movement, or want to show up. We’d love if you could use your network to help Sunrise.
● Show up as an ally at local Hub meetings/events: Help out with your local organizing efforts, while being sure to check-in with and follow the lead of the young people who are in leadership roles in your area’s Hub.