After helping to organize what was the largest climate demonstration in history last week, the D.C.-based Sunrise Movement wasted no time scheduling an organizing call on Tuesday night to lay out the next steps for the burgeoning climate movement’s demand of a Green New Deal.
More than 1,000 people tuned into the call on Tuesday and heard from Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash, as well as other young leaders of the group, about their plan of action from now to early 2021.
The first step will be a demonstration this Friday to mark the second leg of the Global Climate Strike that began last week. Then, Sunrise activists will form what they are calling “strike circles” or small groups of up to 20 individuals who will meet with their local circle each week leading up to another strike that will take place in either late November or early December.
Attendees signed up to receive a package of several weeks worth of materials from Sunrise to share at the weekly meetings ahead of the strikes scheduled for later this fall. By the end of the call, more than 200 people had signed up to host strike circles in their communities.
“I just want you to imagine striking not just for one day, but day after day, marching, demonstrating, even shutting our cities or schools down until we win,” 17-year-old Saya Ameli Hajebi of Sunrise Boston said.
Following the strikes planned for the rest of this year, Sunrise is going to build another massive demonstration on April 22, 2020, or the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Prakash recalled how after the massive Earth Day demonstration in 1970, the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were passed under the Richard Nixon administration.
“We think that Earth Day over the years has gotten a little bit tame, a little bit corporate, and a little bit green washy,” Prakash said. “Let’s look back to the origins of Earth Day. Back when they did the first one in 1970, they mobilized 20 million Americans… We had 600,000 people in the streets last Friday. Can you imagine 20 million people before we had the internet? We can definitely do this.”
Looking further down the calendar, Prakash told organizers about Sunrise’s plan for an escalated mass strike in 2021, with a goal of up to 10 million participants, though the group has yet to work out the specific details of what such a strike will ultimately look like.
“Regardless of who wins in 2020, whether it’s President Harris, President Trump, President Warren, or President Sanders, we are going to face the fight of our lifetime after this election,” Prakash said. “This will need to be the largest youth demonstration in American history… We need mass non-cooperation right after the November 2020 elections to secure a Green New Deal for our generation.”
Sunrise has regularly made headlines since they occupied the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in November 2018. After that, members of Sunrise have made frequent visits to offices of elected politicians. They also had a viral encounter with California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The organization has been at the forefront of efforts for a presidential climate debate from the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
This is a fight for our generation's survival. Her reaction is why young people desperately want new leadership in Congress. pic.twitter.com/0zAkaxruMI
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) February 22, 2019
Last Friday over 4 million people striked for the climate.
This Friday we do it again!
170 countries and 6383 events so far in #weekforfuture
Find or register your strike at https://t.co/G06WbXNvl1 or local websites.
Spread the word!#FridaysForFuture #ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/VXCnPQzw6a
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 25, 2019