Sunrise Movement is an American youth-led political movement coordinated by Sunrise, a 501(c)(4) political action organization that advocates political action on climate change. When first incorporated in 2017, the group's goal was to elect proponents of renewable energy in the 2018 midterm elections, first in the Democratic primaries and then in the general election. After the election, the organization has been focused on gaining a consensus within the Democratic Party in support of an environmental program known as the Green New Deal. Together with Justice Democrats and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the group organized a sit-in in the office of Nancy Pelosi, which brought Sunrise its first significant press coverage.
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- Sunrise is a movement of young people uniting to stop the climate crisis. We are building an army of young people to break the hold of oil and gas CEOs on our politics and elect leaders who will protect the health and wellbeing of all people, not just a wealthy few.
- Sunrise Movement press release
- Sunrise did not stumble into success. Officially launched in April 2017, Sunrise grew out of earlier activism around the fossil fuel divestment movement... What they ended up with was a decentralized organization that tackles climate change and economic inequality together, emphasizes grassroots organizing and nonviolent direct action, and is not afraid of getting some people arrested. Salaries are based on what staff tell the organization they need to support themselves, and the strength of their network is largely through young volunteers based in hubs around the country, rallied via online organizing and group video calls, now regularly numbering in the hundreds. It’s a formulation that builds on recent social movements like 350.org and the push for divestment, Occupy, the Movement for Black Lives, as well as other examples from history.
- Inside Philanthropy in Sunrise Movement is Shaking Up the Climate Debate,Tate Williams (7 January 2019)
- On Monday (25 Feb 2019), the Sunrise Movement, in the form of roughly 250 Kentucky high schoolers, occupied McConnell’s Senate office, resulting in 35 arrests. Some protesters held up a banner that read “Mitch, Look Us in the Eyes,” while others lined the halls outside his office... While the sit-in got little attention in the press, it appeared to have gotten McConnell’s. The majority leader, who is up for re-election in 2020, had recently been eager to put the Green New Deal on the Senate floor. All of a sudden, however, he suggested that it would come up at some point before the August recess.
“This wouldn’t have happened without thousands of people across the country pressuring senators of both parties. Two weeks ago, McConnell was excitedly telling the media about his plans. Now, he seems happy to let this vote be forgotten,” said Varshini Prakash, executive director of Sunrise. “You can bet Mitch McConnell was hearing from his own caucus about this vote. There were sit-ins and rallies at the offices of the Republicans most vulnerable in 2020: Ernst, [David] Perdue, Collins, Gardner, and of course, McConnell himself. They’re smart and don’t want to stand on the wrong side on the Green New Deal, which is very popular in their states.”