So much is happening now with the Sunrise Movement that this is the second post about the online meeting last night. Last night’s meeting began with the panelists suggesting this might be a time to pull back a little and rest. But it didn’t sound like anyone on the call planned to slow down much.
Sunrise Principle 9. We take care of ourselves, each other, and our shared home.Sunrise Movement Principles
Yesterday’s post was the story of how high school students from Kentucky tried to meet with Senator McConnell, to ask him to at least meet with them to talk about the Green New Deal (GND). The following video is about that. Benjamin (below) wrote on his Facebook page:
So damn proud of my friends from Kentucky in their fight against Mitch McConnell and the Fossil Fuel Billionaires. Ya’ll are incredible, powerful, courageous human beings.Benjamin Finegan, Sunrise Movement
Much of the rest of the meeting were stories Benjamin Finegan told us. Benjamin came from Korea to Montana, and is now living in Philadelphia, and has been one of the leaders of the Sunrise Movement.
In the same way Oli told her story about Mitch McConnel, Benjamin told us the following stories based on his own experiences. Sharing stories is one of the core Sunrise principles.
We tell our stories and we honor each other’s stories. We all have something to lose to climate change, and something to gain in coming together. We tell our individual stories to connect with each other and understand the many different ways this crisis impacts us.Sunrise Movement Principles
Benjamin began by reviewing Sunrise’s Theory of Change, which is to build People Power (over 30,000 new members is last couple of weeks), Political Power (over 100 Representatives and Senators support the Green New Deal), and People Alignment.
People Alignment is about making connections with other people and organizations that are needed to make a GND happen. Benjamin said the old political power structures are falling apart. Which means we have a huge opportunity to build a robust and diverse movement to support and implement a Green New Deal.
Benjamin then told stories of his work on People Alignment. The first story was about Tonya, a single black mother living in a poor neighborhood, with fossil fuel infrastructure nearby, polluting the air and land (and water?). Tonya has begun working with Benjamin because she sees the GND as a way to work on issues of racial justice and mass incarceration. And she sees the jobs guarantee as important to improving the economic conditions of her neighborhood.
Benjamin told how he and Tonya have become each other’s mental health support. He says they check in with each other to see how they are doing. For example, getting some sleep.
Next, Benjamin told of his developing relationship with a local union organizer. That union is interested in the job guarantee part of the Green New Deal.
Finally, he told us he is working a teacher in Philadelphia, who is interested in the GND to help address underfunded public schools. Problems include school buildings in bad condition, including not having air conditioning. That is especially problematic since the summers are getting hotter due to global warming.
Benjamin says all of this shows that Americans are ready for a Green New Deal.
April 22 is Earth Day. Sunrise plans to use that day to hold town hall meetings across the country, to talk about the Green New Deal. This is another opportunity to work on People Alignment, to bring allies into the movement. Sunrise will be providing more information soon.
The Youth Climate Strike on March 15 is another opportunity for People Alignment. More information can be found here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/strike-for-climate-on-march-15/
Friday 15 March 2019 is expected to be the most widespread of strikes, with tens of thousands of children in at least two dozen countries and nearly 30 US states projected to walk out of school, supported by of some of the world’s biggest environmental groups. As of 1 March, the website FridaysForFuture.org lists 500 events planned in 50 countries.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_strike_for_climate
On 1 March 2019, 150 students from the global coordination group of the youth-led climate strike (of 15 March), including Greta Thunberg, issued an open letter in The Guardian, saying:
We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. […] We are the voiceless future of humanity. We will no longer accept this injustice. […] We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world’s decision-makers’ inaction that threatens our entire civilisation. […] Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness. […] United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.