Yesterday’s post was not hopeful about people changing to finally begin to address our rapidly worsening environmental chaos: However this all evolves, what we do know is we have to build Beloved communities, to live as best we can as we walk into the future. To do the best we can for our children, and their children, through, hopefully, seven generations. We have to learn “what we can be.” Then we will know what we can do. Fifty years of hoping people would learn that, and seeing so few who have, makes me reluctant to believe change will happen. Waiting longer is not an option now. We are now in the Age of Last Chances.
The one ray of hope for me is the Sunrise Movement, that takes its name from the following hopeful statement.
Together, we will change this country and this world,
sure as the sun rises each morning.
I’ve been following and participating in the Sunrise Movement ever since the Movement jumped into the national spotlight when members staged a sit-in at Speaker Pelosi’s office November, 2018. That sit-in was successful for several reasons.
- It brought national attention to the Sunrise Movement
- if FINALLY brought discussions of climate change to Congress
- It also brought the ideas of a Green New Deal to Congress and the country
- It brought national attention to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she came to the sit-in to support the Sunrise youth
The Sunrise youth told moving stories like this one by Jeremy Ornstein.
I believe stories are the only way to stimulate people to change. When we have Sunrise meetings, we use the ZOOM app, audio and video sharing, to connect with each other, and stories are ALWAYS the important part of these meetings. The ability to see each other and hear the passion in voices is a powerful community building tool. We feel we begin to know each other. When the Sunrise Green New Deal Tour came to Des Moines last spring, I actually saw Jeremy (in the video above) walking on the Drake campus, and had a short conversation with him.
Another example of the Sunrise Movement’s effectiveness is how it pulls in people who are already working for environmental justice locally. At the Green New Deal Tour in Des Moines, my friends Trisha and Lakasha were part of the program.
When I attended the National Network Assembly last summer, one of the sessions was about the Sunrise Movement.
I’ve attended Sunrise leadership training meetings. It was an adjustment for me at first to understand this is purposely a youth led movement.
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 anidentity— 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!
Recently the Sunrise Movement asked us members to vote on which presidential candidate to endorse. The overwhelming choice, and my vote, was for Bernie Sanders. I think this endorsement is really important. The Sunrise Movement continues to grow nationally, is well organized and will put a lot of effective work into this coming election.
“Thanks to the Sunrise Movement’s tireless effort to avert climate catastrophe, we as a country are finally recognizing the pivotal moment we are in and the need to act boldly, quickly. I am honored to receive their endorsement and look forward to working together to launch the Green New Deal and build a more just and equitable future.”Bernie Sanders
The Sunrise Movement and I are urgently asking for you to help now.
We only have 12 months to do it, but we have the people, the tools, and the will to make it happen. And we’ve got plans to kick off the year strong. On January 29th, Sunrisers across the country are going to host “Our Plan to Win the Green New Deal: 2020 Launch Parties” where we’ll show two epic mini-documentaries walking us through what’s at stake and our roadmap for 2020.
Because we need to grow our movement massively in 2020, we’re doing something different. We’re asking everyone in the movement to host one and invite your friends, classmates, or family to join. This kind of personal outreach to groups of people you know has been proven again and again to be the most effective way to bring new people into the movement.
So, whether you’ve been showing up to hub meetings or following us online, I want to ask you to step up — maybe do something you’ve never done before — and help us grow this movement. We’ll get you everything you need: the mini-documentaries, a detailed guide for hosts, and coaching support in case you have any questions.
If you’re anything like me, you’re coming into 2020 feeling a lot of different things: fear, anxiety, dread, confusion, maybe a little excitement and hope. I want to say: you’re not alone. I feel that too. I’ve come to think that’s just what it feels to be a moral and compassionate person living in this kind of moment with such instability and uncertainty.
Let’s rise to this moment together. Sign up to put on a Launch Party with your friends on January 29th.
As I wrote yesterday, this is the Age of Last Chances. I hope you will really dig deep, and not let this last chance fade away. I attended the training session to learn how to put on a Launch Party last week. As always it was a powerful experience. I hope you will especially invite young people you know to get involved, and put on a Launch Party and help grow this Movement.