Movement updates

Sunrise General Movement Update: September 2021

General Movement Update September 2021

On Wednesday, September 8th, Sunrise held its September Movement x All Hands Call, a new monthly rhythm designed to bring together Movement Leaders and Sunrise staff to ground in our current organizing moment, share major updates from Sunrise hubs & the national organization, celebrate movement wins, build relationships and take collective action.

If you weren’t able to make it, here’s a summary of what we talked about:

National Updates

  1. Good Jobs 4 All Campaign
  2. Frontloading
  3. Organization Transformation
  4. Climate Disaster Response
  5. Line 3
  6. Natl-Hub Relationship – Hub Council Visioning Sessions
  7. Somos Sunrise 
  8. Sunrise Organizational Steering Team  

Hub Updates

  1. Hub Digital Sharespace

National Updates

1. Good Jobs 4 All Campaign

We are in the final phase of this campaign! Right now, Congressional committees are deciding how much money to give to different programs or if anything will be cut. The House is back on Sept 20 and there’s an agreed upon deadline for them to vote on the Exxon plan (bipartisan infrastructure bill) by Sept 27th. The Progressive Caucus, Pelosi, Schumer and Biden have insisted that this bipartisan plan and budget reconciliation, which is where all of our priorities (like the CCC, funding for schools and housing) are, pass together. If Progressives hold the line, both bills could pass by Sept 27th. Of course, Congress rarely does what they say they will do, so we are making plans for the fight to stretch into October.

In order for the budget to pass, we need every Democratic Senator and just about every single Democratic House Member to vote yes. Some conservative Democrats have been throwing up potential roadblocks, like Sen. Joe Manchin saying he might not vote for the budget if it’s at $3.5 trillion and Rep. Josh Gottheimer saying we should pass the Exxon plan first and just wait and see with the budget. Meanwhile, corporations like Disney and Exxon are ramping up their lobbying big time to water down the bill. Our political team is working with the Squad and other movements to keep the pressure on all Democrats and we’ll continue to share information and any rapid response opportunities as they emerge.

In this phase, our movement needs to:

  • Keep the pressure on Members of Congress. We need to ensure all MOCs, especially ones who sit on key committees, fully fund a CCC and meet our other demands listed here.
  • Keep the pressure on Biden. This Build Back Better plan is his big priority as President and he is the leader of the Democratic party. He needs to ensure all Democrats vote yes on his agenda and that it doesn’t get further watered down.

Upcoming campaign moments:

  • September 20th Day of Action. On September 20th, Congress gets back to DC. And from there we only have one week until they’re set to vote on bills that could be the largest climate investment this country has ever seen. We’re mobilizing to take action and make sure Democrats pass a bold climate agenda: a fully funded Civilian Climate Corps and bold investment in renewable energy, public housing, transit, and schools. We will demonstrate that we will not stop, we will not back-down, we will not quit, until we win the first major legislative victory for our movement. 
  • Sign up here to take action in-person or during our virtual action!

Ongoing support and ways to take action:

2. Frontloading

After a year we’re wrapping up the last bit of DNA development! A LOT of people gave input on this and we’re excited to bring it back to everyone. Which means…

  • We’re moving forward with content testing! A bunch of you submitted pitches for how your hub/location should be involved in testing out various pieces of new movement DNA.
  • We’re reaching out to hubs in potential priority locations to determine where and when different pieces of content testing will happen.
  • Learn all about Frontloading & Content Testing here.

3. Organization Transformation 

  • The JEAO Change Team is disbanding (5 conditions for disbanding). The change team was created in 2019 to support the centering of Justice, Equity and Anti-Oppression within the organization at a time when there was not a foundation for organizational change. This team interrupted many cultural norms at Sunrise and pushed large shifts in our strategy and culture throughout 2020. The team guided our JEAO work through an important period of time and helped Sunrise build the foundation for this work. However, having a siloed team whose sole focus is Justice, Equity and Anti-Oppression rather than a structure that asks for collective responsibility to liberation was not enough to make our Organization accountable to transformative culture shifts OR support the extent of this shift in our movement. In February 2021, we set a goal of disbanding the team and after the transition of leadership and restructuring of decision making bodies in the past six months we feel like Sunrise is within sight of having clear decision making and accountability around JEAO in our highest bodies of leadership — Frontloading, Steering Team and Division Directors. On the Movement X All Hands call we shared a brief history of the team, its wins and its limitations, why we are choosing to disband, and the 5 conditions for disbanding that must be met in order to maintain the strengths and learnings of this leadership body while also planning for the opportunities and threats we see in this next era. We hope this will serve as a case study for other teams and hubs grappling with similar questions about how to bring culture shift to the forefront of your organizing! 
  • Frontloading’s approach to the Black Sunrise Caucus demands. On the call, we issued a report of how the work of frontloading is intersecting with and meeting the BSC demands, and how it isn’t. Aru Shiney-Ajay reflects on how the demands responded to symptoms of some of the biggest shortcomings of our 1.0 DNA and how the lessons of the demands are shaping the frontloading process.
  • BSC demands update – August 2021. Here is an update on where each demand is at in Sunrise 1.0. This summarizes which demands have been met, which demands are in progress, and which will need to be moved forward by the frontloading process.

4. Climate Disaster Response

How Movement Support Team (MST) can support you in the wake of a climate disaster:

  • Providing digital amplification of mutual aid and personal stories from the ground via email, Social Media, Slack.
  • Sending out a national press release and pitching your hub’s story to national papers
  • Editing footage you’ve collected from on the ground into a powerful video that can polarize the public around this disaster
  • Coaching for your actions and/or mutual aid networks
  • Coaching for press needs — press releases, coaching on interviews and solidifying messaging, and building relationships with reporters
  • Consulting on messaging and narrative as it relates to elections, politicians, current legislative fights, and partnerships
  • Support with graphic design and action art as a part of your digital or in-person response
  • Supporting your efforts to set up a local town hall connecting the disaster with systemic issues by coaching
  • Making a distributed call-to-action for hubs acting in solidarity (this could look like solidarity actions or virtual social media actions that individuals can take to uplift your demands for your representatives)
  • Funding for your hub’s climate disaster response efforts. For more information, check out our protocols here.

What to do when disaster is about to hit/has just hit:

  • Connect with Kidus Girma (@Kidus) on Sunrise’s National Slack to coordinate communication between you and MST
  • Check out our CDR creative and communications guide to learn how to message around the disaster and polarize the public in favor of your campaign demands
  • Record photos and videos of the disaster, its impacts, and your hub’s response to the disaster to create a powerful video. Our national video team can help edit the video.
  • Hold a climate disaster hub prep meeting and share these CDC guides on climate disaster preparedness. You can find a template agenda for that on the best practices/resources guide here.
  • Make sure people have access to emergency supplies (food, clean water, medical supplies, flashlight, batteries, heat source/AC, boards for windows, sand bags, etc). This can happen through your mutual aid network if you choose to set it up, or through your hub’s communication channels.
  • Reach out to partner orgs to get on the same page about what you’re doing to prepare. Come up with a response plan together.
  • After a climate disaster, you can request up to $5k of financial support from the Movement Support Team. You can find the disaster relief protocols here.
  • Start planning your action as a hub or with partners (if they’re interested) targeting a member of Congress or other representative who could be doing more to prevent climate catastrophes.
    • If you’re planning an action, let us know the details at smvmt.org/actions (you can also request coaching there!)
    • Check out examples of during and post-catastrophe here and here.
  • For more information please check out our Leading in a Climate Disaster Guide: smvmt.org/climatedisaster

5. Line 3

  • This summer, we saw a series of big actions with consistent construction halting tactics done by affinity groups from frontline camps across so-called Minnesota. September in the Line 3 fight is seeing a big turn as construction is nearing the end for this pipeline. Several frontline and cultural camps are shutting down, some are taking a break and restrategizing. At this point Camp Migizi is openly planning on improving infrastructure, welcoming new frontliners, holding a build week Sept 9-15th, and hosting a workshop series to fundraise.
  • Action asks include joining the DC Build Back Fossil Free actions Oct 11-15th and a renewed call for local actions targeting the banks funding Enbridge. There are also several ongoing legal battles. One with critical standing is the White Earth Nation suing the defense of the rights of manoomin, wild rice, and the judge threw out the DNR’s attempted dismissal of the lawsuit. Which means the DNR will need to go through the White Earth Tribal Court.
  • Two weeks ago, the United Nations issued a letter condemning Enbridge for violating Treaty Rights urging the US to act. At this time Biden has received 500,000 petition signatures and nearly 1000 arrests have been made and yet he still refuses to act to Stop Line 3. Some of those arrests include our movements members and the work around a coordinated defense/offense strategy with political and social mobilization elements has begun. Sunrisers involved will be looking to create at the very least a small space to connect with other defendants as well as bringing together the various Sunrisers who have engaged in some way over the last several months. Right now, some people are stepping back for rest and we’re, just like the Line 3 movement at large, are also tackling big questions about what’s next. We hope to know more soon, but as things currently stand we will continue our weekly phone banks through Sept 23rd with fluctuating asks as needs change, and likely beyond that. Ways to sign up for, donate, and access resources and info to take action can be found here: bit.ly/shortandsweetask 

6. Natl-Hub Relationship – Hub Council Visioning Sessions

  • We have been gathering feedback from the movement in order to build a new hub council! We are not an approving body, but rather a catalyst to transform thoughts and feedback into working structure. The movement will be the larger approving body for our vision of hub council.
  • What’s actually happening with this? What’s going on? What’s the timeline?
    • We’re creating the next iteration of hub council, and to do that we need to hear what the movement wants in terms of powers of the hub council and logistics for how we make it happen
    • We had calls about the powers people wanted it to have in July and August (notes)
    • We will continue hosting the calls about the logistics of the hub council in early October; stay tuned!
  • Who is involved? Frontloading, staff?
    • Volunteers. The #natl-hub-relationship channel in Sunrise National Slack is open so anyone can join this crew!
    • Frontloading and staff aren’t part of this. Frontloading wants to talk to us but we don’t know availability yet. If you feel like joining that convo, join our channel.
  • How is this going to happen? I.e., how do we actually get the organization to implement the hub council we’re creating?
    • Great question. We are having a digital “retreat” on 9/18 or 9/19 to discuss that. If you’re interested, join #natl-hub-relationship and also fill out this poll so we can pick an exact date/time!
  • Things we want you to know 🙂
    • This process is entirely volunteer run and volunteer centered.
    • We have a weekly core team meeting 7pm ET at Thursday if necessary this time could change
    • As our hopes and goals expand we know our organizing team need to become more representative of the movement
      • Right now, the team over represents Jewish, Asian, AMAB organizers
      • Also aim to get representation from hubs directly to put less pressure on individual organizers
      • The team just needs to be bigger

7. Somos Sunrise

  • Back story:
    • Somos Sunrise is the Latine Constituency of Sunrise Movement
    • It began as Escuelita: a small group of people across the US who worked on translating trainings from Sunrise School into Spanish. In August of 2020 we put on a virtual training entirely in Spanish called Latinidad y el Green New Deal
    • The group saw this team as an opportunity to do more than translation work, as many of us were aware of the need for community space for Latines within Sunrise as well as Latines dedicated specifically on bringing more young Latine people into the climate movement & exploring the intersection between race/ethnic identity and climate change.
    • The group transformed into Somos Sunrise, just as the constituency programs were starting, and thus Somos Sunrise and the Latinx Constituency became one and the same. 
  • Recent Past:
    • Somos Sunrise & our projects have been constantly evolving in the past year that it has existed, but most recently we have focused on the Laredo Climate Camp: a 2 day in-person training in Laredo, Texas (created, planned, and run by Somos members) where we partnered with a local organization, RGISC, to train local young people about organizing skills, collective liberation, and the Green New Deal.
  • Currently:
    • Currently we are focusing on Latine Heritage Month, where we are planning a series of social media posts, a virtual event & panel on October 15th, and ongoing collaborations with different Latine artists & organizers who we admire.
    • The main thing is that we’re waiting to hear back about 2 new staff roles, which would huuugely increase our capacity and ability to recreate climate camps & create an onboarding & recruitment process
    • If you’re Latine and are interested in being a part of the planning process AND/OR being in the Somos Sunrise slack, please DM me @andreacanizaresfernandez on slack!

8. Sunrise Organizational Steering Team

In August the newly formed Steering Team started to hit our stride! This was our second full month as a team, and we were able to start to dig deeper into some meaningful work together (even with many of our members using the month as a time for much needed time off).

Here are some high level things we worked on together in August:

  • Ratified the team mandates and responsibilities
  • Mapped out a birds-eye view of major phases, priorities and a timeline for Sunrise for the next year across our campaigning, Frontloading, and organizational transformation and restructuring
  • Set up the Campaign Team to work with frontloading and the base to develop a plan for the period of time between between the reconciliation bill passing and the launch of Sunrise 2.0 — to celebrate and close this chapter of our movement while pivoting to the future
  • Approved a new hiring process for the organization that will better streamline hires to ensure a holistic view of how we are shaping the organization to best support the movement. This process is run by and through the Steering Team
  • Met with members of the JEAO Change Team to talk about the path forward for the work of ensuring a just, equitable, and anti-oppressive Sunrise (see more in Organizational Transformation section)
  • Updated our COVID policies to better reflect the realities of the Delta Variant wave
  • Support the organizational response to Buzzfeed News article for movement and staff

Here’s what’s on our agenda for September:

  • Frontloading team will present a proposal on movement democracy and process to allow the movement to ratify the new DNA
  • Land communication rhythms and practices for staff/hubs from and to Steering Team
  • Approve an updated proposal for program approval and tracking for the organization
  • Give input to plan for transition from Sunrise 1.0 to 2.0 and campaign plan after the reconciliation bill passes
  • Move forward plan for more internal/public dialogue and process about movement transformation
  • Approve new project management/tracking/intake tools

Hub Updates

1. Hub Digital Sharespace

During the call, hub members from across the country took to the Hub Digital Sharespace to answer a few questions and give regional share-outs on what they’re up to this month! Check out their answers to these prompts:

  1. What’s one highlight from your hub that you’d want to share with others in the movement?
  2. What activities is your hub planning to focus on in September?
  3. What’s one major challenge your hub is facing right now?
  4. What is one question your hub is asking right now?

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