Last month, Sunrisers joined millions of people around the world for the Sept 20th #ClimateStrike–the biggest demonstration for climate justice in history. Now, it’s time to talk about what’s next for Sunrise.
One part of Sunrise’s upcoming strategy is our work to elect champions for our generation to Congress and the White House in 2020. There will be much more to say about that soon.
The other part is what we’re announcing today: three enormous waves of youth-led strikes that will make an unavoidable and unmistakable case for a Green New Deal to the politicians that will enter office in 2021.
Before I get to the dates, I want to talk for a moment about why we are calling for more strikes.
In order for our generation to stop the climate crisis, it’s not enough just to convince politicians to support the Green New Deal, and it’s not even enough to elect a President who wants to put the Green New Deal into action.
There’s a famous story that when FDR met with civil rights activists who sought his support for bold legislation, he told them: “I agree with you, I want to do it. Now go out and make me do it.” FDR understood that even though he wanted to act, he would face such fierce opposition that he wouldn’t really be able to pass bold legislation unless overwhelming public pressure forced it to happen.
We face this same situation today. Fossil fuel billionaires and their allies are fighting tooth and nail to block any climate action, and even sympathetic politicians are at risk of buckling to that pressure. So in order to win a Green New Deal, we need to create overwhelming public pressure that will leave our leaders with no choice but to act.
Mass strikes are our best bet to get there. Over the course of the next year, we’ll join with allies to hold three waves of youth-led strikes. At each one we’ll grow our numbers and our power, training new leaders who can in turn recruit more people to the next strike. By next December, just after the 2020 elections, we will have 10 million young people ready to take the streets and bring our political system to a grinding halt until we get a Green New Deal.
Here’s our plan:
Our next strike will be on December 6th, 2019. A year out from the 2020 election, Sunrisers across America will join a national #ClimateStrike to take the momentum from September to our elected officials’ doorsteps. This will follow a global day of action on November 29th, Black Friday, when our allies will be striking around the world.
After that, we will strike on April 22nd, 2020: the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, when 20 million Americans participated in the largest nationwide protest ever, leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air and Water Acts, and more. We’ll echo that historic moment with the biggest youth strike this country has seen in decades.
Then, just after the 2020 elections, 10 million of us will take to the streets in the biggest strike yet. This won’t just be a single rally or march–this will be multiple days of continued strikes from school and work, of taking over politicians’ offices, of bringing the call for a Green New Deal to every community in America. This is the time when our next President and Congress will be setting the agenda for their first 100 days in office. Our pressure will ensure the Green New Deal has to be their top priority.
That’s the plan. What do you think? If you’re ready to be a part of it, there’s work to be done starting now. Pledge to organize a strike in your town on December 6th and show politicians that the Sept 20th strike wasn’t a one-off event: we’re ready to keep striking until we get a Green New Deal.
Here’s the bottom line for me. It’s not enough to speak out any more – to just rally when it’s allowed. We need to bring business as usual to a screaming halt before the climate crisis does, using the most effective tools at our disposal.
After the Global Climate Strike, it’s clear that our movement is ready to do that.