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What We Believe

Our Principles

These are guidelines of our movement which we all commit to upholding. Any action that does not embody these principles is not a Sunrise action.

A large group of climate activists during the December 2019 Climate Strikes. Large yellow Green New Deal vertical signs are the most prominent signs behind three activists leading the march with megaphones.

1. We are a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.

We unite to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.

A Sunrise member canvassing ahead of the primary 2020 Presidential elections. The canvasser has a clipboard with Green "New Deal Now" printed in the back.

2. We grow our power through talking to our communities.

We talk to our neighbors, families, religious leaders, classmates, and teachers, in order to spread our word. Our strength and work is rooted in our local communities, and we are always growing in number.

Sunrise Boston taking over local politicians with a large "Which Side Are You On?" sign, targeting corrupt politicians taking fossil fuel money.

3. We are Americans from all walks of life.

We are of many colors and creeds, from the plains, mountains, and coasts. A wealthy few want to divide us, but we value each other in our differences and we are united in a shared fight to make real the promise of a society that works for all of us.

Activists lined up on congressional halls during the November 2018 sit-in of Nancy Pelosi's office to demand a Green New Deal. A police officer is looking at people as they hold up their fists and signs saying "No more excuses" and "We need a Green New Deal".

4. We are nonviolent in word and deed.

Remaining nonviolent allows us to win the hearts of the public and welcomes the most people to participate. We need maximum participation in order to achieve our goals.

A Sunrise activist reads a speech during a demonstration in a politician's office demanding a Green New Deal. Fellow activists line the background holding signs saying "Back The Deal" and "We Need A Green New Deal".

5. We tell our stories and we honor each other’s stories.

We all have something to lose to climate change, and something to gain in coming together. We tell our individual stories to connect with each other and understand the many different ways this crisis impacts us.

Two people phonebanking on their couch, calling voters to support Green New Deal champions.

6. We ask for help and we give what we can.

We all have something to offer to the movement. Some of us give time through volunteering anywhere from 1 to 50 hours per week. Some of us give money. Some of us donate housing or meeting space. We invite our community into the movement by asking for the help we need.

Sunrise activists surround a table filled with art materials as they create action art.

7. We take initiative.

Any group of 3 people can take action in the name of Sunrise. We ask for advice — not permission — from each other to make this happen. To make decisions, we ask ourselves, “does this bring us closer to our goal?” If yes, we simply do the work that is exciting and makes sense.

A group of five people of various demographics, some holding phones to their ears, in support of phone-banking voters to support Green New Deal champion politicians.

8. We embrace experimentation and we learn together.

We welcome imperfection, share innovations, and learn through honest mistakes followed by honest conversations that help us move forward together. If we see something we don’t like, we contribute with something we do like, modeling an alternative.

A large group of people gathered outside, some wearing Sunrise and "No Fossil Fuel Money" shirts.

9. We take care of ourselves, each other, and our shared home.

We maintain our health of body, mind, spirit, and environment to the best of our ability so that we can maintain a strong movement together. We respect that for each of us this looks different.

A Sunrise activist speaking into a megaphone during a 2020 "Wide Awake" action in KY, with masked people holding signs saying "No Justice No Sleep" and "Look Us In The Eye".

10. We stand with other movements for change.

Stopping climate change requires winning and holding power at every level of government. This is a huge job and we can’t do it alone. When it makes sense, we work with other movements who share our values and are also working to win political power.

Two young people smiling while holding the sign "Organize. Vote. Strike".

11. We shine bright.

There are hard and sad days, to be sure. This isn’t easy work. But we strive to bring a spirit of positivity and hope to everything we do. Changing the world is a fulfilling and joyful process, and we let that show.