Movement updates

Sunrise General Movement Update: January 2022

Sunrise General Update January 2022

2022 is going to be a BIG year for Sunrise and our quest to usher in the era of the Green New Deal!  With the launch of a new Movement DNA, crucial midterm elections in November, climate disasters headed our direction, and innumerable opportunities to take action, grow our movement and build power – there’s no doubt that 2022 is going to keep us on our toes!

That’s why we held the January’s Movement Leaders x All Hands call on Wednesday, January 19th to kick off the new year right!  This call was an opportunity to come together as a full movement and staff team to arm ourselves with the relationships, information and energy we need to make 2022 the important year we need it to be. Here’s what we talked about:

National Updates

  1. Good Jobs for All Campaign Updates
  2. Frontloading and Content Testing
  3. Electoral Program
  4. Sunrise Organizational Steering Team
  5. Trans Caucus
  6. GND for Public Housing Campaign
  7. Hub Case Study: Climate Disaster Response

National Updates

1. Good Jobs for All Campaign Updates

Right now, Build Back Better is on the back burner in Congress…still. At the end of 2021, Congress was working towards a Christmas deadline, until Manchin said he wouldn’t vote on BBB and Biden + Schumer affirmed that BBB will not get moved on until debates over voting rights are resolved (even though…they’ve been working on this bill for 8 months), and the new soft deadline for BBB is by the State of the Union in early March.

We delivered Democrats control of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020. We elected them on a mandate to act on climate and fight for us, and even with the majority, they still couldn’t get the job done. We don’t have enough power to get everything we need done, and this past year has shown us that while we have some allies in Congress (shoutout to the Squad), not all Democrats have our backs. As we continue to fight for BBB to pass, we’re also looking ahead into 2022, the midterms, and electing Democrats that will fight for us, not their corporate donors.

Important to note: everything related to climate in BBB is agreed upon, and even has Manchin’s backing. But key provisions like the child tax credit, and other investments we need for our future, are still being debated.

What’s happening in Sunrise—we are scaling back our work on BBB and looking forward to 2022, launching our new strategy, and the midterms. We are not completely stopping all work on BBB and will continue to show up for partner organizations and respond to big updates in the process as they happen,  and support hubs that are feeling fired up to take action. 

However you are feeling about the state of BBB or democracy itself, whether it’s angry, disappointed, upset, or even hopeful, lean into that. We deserved more from Democrats and Congress this year, and we still deserve a future that’s worth fighting for.

Look out soon for reports and debriefs looking back on the campaign, capturing feedback from hub members, staff, and campaign team.

2. Frontloading / DNA Ratification

The frontloading team is nearing the end of it’s first round of DNA (story, strategy, structure, and culture) creation and content-testing, and ready to move into a new phase as we prep for the ratification vote in May! 

Until then, our newly expanded team is going to be working on two main buckets of work: 

1) editing DNA with content-testing feedback (we will do this in multiple rounds) and 

2) continuing to content-test. 

We are figuring out how, over the coming months, we can reach every hub & leader in our movement to get their input, ideas, and inspiration for Sunrise 2.0. Over the past few weeks, our DNA sub team work has been wrapping up to the following conclusions: 

  • Story team: This team is entirely in the edits stage for our metanarrative, and is now working with an expanded creative team to prep a visual strategy for content-testing. 
  • Strategy team: This team is figuring out how to narrow down the strategy (if you’ve been to a content-testing session, you know it’s a lot) as well as fleshing out the details for the proposed campaigns. 
  • Culture team: This team is entirely in the edits stage for principles, and is now working on figuring out how to integrate cultural values, practices, and structures into the remainder of our DNA and operations. 
  • Structure team: This team is hosting ratification design sessions to finalize the movement vote at the end of frontloading, working with the Movement Democracy Project to create a plan for volunteers to implement the decision-making structures, and hosting workshops to dig deep on hub & chapter structures with hub leaders. 

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be rolling out more concrete plans. But in the meantime, you can look out for the links to the upcoming ratification sessions in Slack tomorrow or sign up for a series of workshops to bring frontloading’s structure content to hubs to digest, provide feedback and collaboratively generate alternative or expanding ideas and practices for the future structure of our movement. In order to bring a vision we can execute that benefits and grows our hubs and provides the foundation for building nationwide strength, we’re gonna need help. 

Fill out our google form if you are a hub member or staff that wants to participate and work to mold the content, or if you want to help recruit for and facilitate the workshops!

3. Electoral 

We’re less than a month out from the start of early voting in Jessica Cisneros’ primary to unseat Henry Cuellar in TX-28. Jessica is a 28-year-old immigration lawyer from Laredo, TX running on a powerful platform that includes the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, immigration reform, corruption reform, and more. She’s been fighting for her community her whole life and now she’s bringing that fight to Congress. Cuellar, on the other hand, is the most conservative “Democrat” in Congress… he has an “A” rating from the NRA, has taken over $800,000 from the oil and gas industry throughout his career, and consistently votes with Republicans on things like restricting the right to abortion and labor rights. 

In 2020, Jessica ran against Cuellar and lost by just 2,700 votes. She’s back this year and with our help she’s got a real shot to win! Winning this primary would be a shock to the Democratic party and would mean a bigger Squad 🙂 

In order to win, we need as many people getting on phone banks and talking to voters in TX28. We’ve made just over 100,000 calls already, but now it’s time for us to level up! 

You can sign up to make calls at  this link: https://smvmt.org/sunriseforjessica. We actually have a phone bank happening literally right now!! We call every Wednesday and Sunday, and will be adding more days soon. 
You can even host your own phone bank with friends or your hub at https://smvmt.org/host4jessica. We’ll give you all the resources and support you need to run an awesome phone bank! Throwing down for Jessica is our top electoral priority through March 1st, so if you’re looking for an easy and impactful  way to get involved, this is it! Post March 1st, we’ll start supporting other important races across the country.

4. Sunrise Organizational Steering Team

Since December the Steering Team has primarily been focused on goal setting, timelining and project planning to make sure our programs, staff structure and budget will set us up to meet our goals in 2022. This has primarily looked like:

  • Making sure our organization has a budget for 2022 that reflects our top priorities! This includes shifting our budget from being focused around departments to having them organized by program, as well as making working on strategy and program plans for 2022 to be able to base our budget off of;
  • Making sure our staff staff structure follows our strategy and program plans and making some changes so that our structure will set us up for success for our plans for the first half of 2022;

Additionally, the Systems and Communications subteam on the Steering Team would like you to know we are working on some updates to the ways we both communicate out to the rest of staff and members of the movement and receive questions, feedback and requests. We will have some new systems rolling out soon, stay tuned!

5. Trans Caucus

We’ve launched a trans caucus as a pilot project for Sunrise 2.0 caucus structures! The Sunrise Movement Trans Caucus serves as a space for trans movement members and staff to build community, organize for empowerment within Sunrise, and identify opportunities for the movement to strategically show up externally in the broader fight for trans liberation.

The trans caucus works closely with Frontloading to transmit learnings, challenges, and beyond between now and the Sunrise 2.0 launch so we can try on what a formalized caucus structure could look like before we implement caucuses on a grander scale.

To join the Sunrise Movement Trans Caucus*:

  • Fill out the new caucus member form.
  • A caucus member will reach out to you to schedule a time to talk.
  • You’ll be added to the trans caucus Slack channel and be invited to the next monthly meeting.

*The caucus is for trans movement members under 35. If you’re cis or over 35 but want to support, email Gabbi Pierce at [email protected] to stay in the loop on other ways to get involved!

6. GND for Public Housing Campaign

Sunrise launched a Green New Deal for Public Housing Campaign from November 2019 – June 2021 with the following objectives:

  • Build powerful leaders who champion the fight for the GND for Public Housing and build powerful organizing coalitions to build power that they can wield in 2022. 
  • Change the view and legislative prioritization of public housing in the cities we’re running this program and that dignified housing is a right, and is intrinsically tied to a livable future for our most vulnerable communities. 

To achieve these objectives, we:

  • Ran 13 developmental trainings
  • Had 3 substantially coordinated actions
  • Built 3 coalitions
  • Had 1 press hit

These were our learnings:

  • LA, PR, and NY cohorts have started of joined active coalitions for GNF4PH
  • 100% of participants reported using skills they learned in the program in their organizing within two months of completing the program
  • Demographics of Participants:
    • 94% BIPOC (This is the highest percentage of Bipoc participants  to date at Sunrise!)
    • 52% Spanish speakers
    • 90.5% Working class or poor
    • 48% Public Housing Tenants or Frontline Residents (original goal of 50%)

7. Hub Case Study: Climate Disaster Response

Key Links/Resources:


Sunrise Movement has a Climate Disaster Response Team to assist hubs experiencing natural disaster respond to calamities in their area. The goal of our team is to partner with hubs who might want to practice mutual aid, create an emotional processing space, boost social media content, plan a direct action or something else hub leaders dream of. Our goal is to make sure hubs are supported when a disaster strikes in their area. We’re here for you. ? Please dm Kidus or email him with any questions and review our 1-page guide above for an idea of what we might be able to do together.

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