Living in a historic moment
I can’t remember a more difficult moment for our movement or our country, or a more difficult message to write. Everything about our world has changed dramatically, and it needs to be addressed.
Right now a devastating pandemic is turning our lives upside down. Economists think that up to 2.25 million people have lost their jobs in the past week alone.
Bernie Sanders, the Presidential candidate we trust most to confront this kind of global crisis, has fallen behind in the Presidential race. The path to close the gap for the Democratic nomination between him and Joe Biden has blurred, with polls closed to voters nationwide for the foreseeable future. Right now, the Presidential race is somewhat suspended. Bernie is focused on responding to the global health and economic crises that have stopped the world in their tracks, and we are, too.
We are all feeling some amount of fear, confusion, disappointment, and sadness. I know I am. I am also feeling determination to continue our fight for a Green New Deal. When Sunrise endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, we said this:
We know that no matter who the next President is, we will need to turn millions of people into the streets and disrupt business as usual in order to win a Green New Deal…
The movement for a Green New Deal is bigger than any one candidate. If Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, the stakes of the climate crisis demand that we can’t sit this election out… The defeat of President Trump in 2020 is an absolute necessity toward having a shot at the federal government taking any degree of action on the climate crisis and protecting the people and places we love.
That promise to act is more important than ever to keep. And the terrain of what’s politically possible — even under the Trump administration — is shifting rapidly in this moment. The past week has shown millions of Americans that our jobs, debt, healthcare, housing, and economy can be transformed overnight when and if the government sets its mind to it.
This moment is unprecedented. In it, we have an opportunity to call for the new world we need — a world that always guarantees housing, a living wage, healthcare, and a livable planet — not just during a crisis.
Join us for a Crisis Call on Sunday evening at 7pm ET / 4pm PT, where we’ll discuss the launch of projects that can make this moment a starting point for deep transformation. To move forward, we need to revamp our movement, and we need to start now.
While our strategy must shift to protect ourselves and each other, and we’ve had to upend big plans like our Earth Day mobilizations and protests, we will meet this moment. Mark my words. We are the online generation and young people can maneuver with ease to organize right now in ways that give us an upper hand.
The more people who use their quarantine to organize online and prepare for a massive spike in action once the pandemic passes, the more powerful we will be when we can return to the streets — and the greater the chances this terrible crisis becomes a catalyst for our country’s transformation for the better.
We always knew 2020 was going to be a historic year — even if we expected things to be a little different. Bernie said this fight was not about him, but about us. Let’s prove him right.
Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement co-founder