I recently summarized my involvement with the Sunrise Movement, beginning when the Movement made national news in November, 2018, and the Sunrise youth staged a sit-in at Speaker Pelosi’s office, some arrested for nonviolent direct action. One of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s first acts as a new Congresswoman was to join these young people during the sit-in. The goal of Sunrise is to elect people to Congress who will pass legislation to build a Green New Deal. That can mean campaigning against an incumbent Democrat who does not support a Green New Deal.
There are strategic reasons the Sunrise Movement is led by young people less than 35 years of age:
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.
And although I have never heard anyone say this, I also see this as “you adults had your chance and failed. Now its up to us.” It took bit to adjust from one who leads to one who follows, but I’ve made the transition.
If you are an adult who has been an activist, this is your chance to invite young people you know into an organization focused on youth.
I can’t say enough how much I respect how well organized the Sunrise Movement is. One reason is the focus on sharing stories. During the online Zoom meetings I have participated in, almost every one includes at least one breakout session. This is when those on the call are divided into small groups, so those in the group can see and talk with each other. This is a highly effective way to make everyone feel they are part of the meeting.
The purpose of this post is to make more young people aware of the Sunrise Movement, especially now that plans for this year are about to begin with nationwide Launch Parties January 29. Wednesday I joined an online Zoom meeting to learn about the plans.
The Sunrise Movement has always been predicated on the idea of mobilizing masses of people. Currently 1,554 Launch Parties are planned for January 29th in cities and towns across the country.
Together, we will change this country and this world, sure as the sun rises each morning.