Sunrise Semester Bootcamp: Days 5–7
With the last stretch of the weeklong bootcamp in sight, we started off day 5 with a public narrative training lead by Stephen. We use storytelling in many ways in Sunrise — public narratives in particular are one of the key ways we can use vulnerability and our own experiences to motivate others to join our movement for change. We practiced crafting our Story of Self, Us and Now and thought about how to embed public narratives into our organizing on the day to day: in meetings, rallies and demonstrations, and trainings.
The rest of the morning was spent learning skills around Non-violent Direct Action. As we learned in the escalation training the previous day, one of the key ways we get our story and message out into the public and put pressure on our targets to take action on climate is through escalating: in numbers, sacrifice, and risk. We learned the ins and outs of planning and implementing actions and then got to role play one in preparation for the action we’ll take throughout the program to challenge candidates to refuse Big Oil donations. Here are some of the pictures of the action we did on Congresswoman “Cynthia Jeffries” who, unfortunately, managed to be out of her office “200 miles away” at the given time that we showed up to demand she take the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge 😛
It had been a long and full week so far so we took the afternoon off to rest and recuperate. After dinner, we had the infamous “no talent” talent and cultural show where fellows and trainers alike got to perform skits, songs, poems, and so much more that showcased their personalities, passions, and unique cultures. It was raucous, hysterical, hype, and moving all at the same time. We heard self-written poems from Phillip who shared about growing up in Jamaica and whose poem you can watch on social media here. We had hilarious skits about Sunrise from the perspective of the Koch Brothers and Rex Tillerson and their new movement “Sunset” and so much more. It was a night to remember.
We kicked off the morning with round 2 of public narrative training with Jillian and Stephen! #PracticeMakesPerfect
Before we headed to lunch we dug into some hard canvassing skills, as in how we might talk to people people at the doors and in our community to hear about challenges they’re facing in their neighborhoods, share with them about Sunrise and our plan to stop climate change, and invite them to join our movement. We role-played and practiced with one another, talking to strangers can be intimidating! But we know that unless thousands more join our movement, we won’t have the power to stop the corruption of our politics and protect our our generation’s future. Sometimes, all it takes to bring in a new volunteer is ask!
The afternoon on Day 6 centered on our HR policies and behavioral expectations over the course of Sunrise Semester. Throughout the afternoon, each fellow participated in a discussion in three separate stations that covered a particular topic related to participation in the program.
The stations were:
- Our policy against discrimination and harrassment
- Substance-free spaces and relationships in the workplace
- Performance and management
Together, we also had a conversation on rape culture, consent and the conditions that would allow us to have safe experiences living together in movement houses across the country.
Our last session before dinner was “How to be a good housemate”. Collective living in movement houses can be a ton of fun, but it also takes a lot of work to maintain and manage relationships and a household. In this session we delved into everything from habits around cleanliness, to personality traits around extro/introversion to how to non-violently and directly communicate with one another about needs and challenges. We talked about work in the house and how, throughout our history, household labor and management has been disproportionately managed by women and how the success of our movement depends on everyone pitching in.
After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening in an art build to create the visuals we’ll need to tell our story in compelling ways for the months to come. Here are some pictures, and many more to come!
The last day of Sunrise Semester bootcamp! We spent the morning digging deeper into the specific roles that fellows will hold during Sunrise Semester: Communications lead, Canvass captain, Fundraising, Volunteer captain, Action lead, Art lead, and House captain. After lunch, we dug in altogether on fundraising for the movement and discussed some of our fears and preconceived notions about money and asking for it. We got some fundraising hard skills and roleplayed asking people for money to support our movement from the grassroots.
The afternoon was spent talking about how to be an effective organizer who gets sh*t done! We shared learnings around time management, creating a smart task list, taking effective, restorative breaks and other lifeskills that will help us not only organize more efficiently, but be healthier, happier humans while doing it.
And all of a sudden, we were at the close of an epic, weeklong, seventy person bootcamp that was about to launch a six month fellowship to make climate matter in our 2018 midterms. We closed our altar together, taking back the items that reminded us of what we love and could lose to climate change. We sang a song or two together to close out the week collectively.
The following day it was bittersweet goodbyes as seventy fellows headed out in carpools across the country to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Florida where they are settling down in movement houses to prepare for the months ahead. Some of them are already out on the streets canvassing their neighbors!
In the words of one of our fellows, Gabriel:
“This past week took me through a rollercoaster of emotions: hearing other people’s stories of what they love and could lose to climate change had me on the verge of tears; learning about the ways in which fossil fuel billionaires have endangered us all by corrupting our democracy and buying out politicians made me furious; leveling up my canvassing, fundraising, storytelling, and management skills made me feel more capable than ever. But more than anything, I’m leaving this week feeling hopeful.
It’s inspiring to see so many young people rearing to talk to thousands of voters and get politicians who are ready to fight for our generation into office. It’s moving to see the sacrifices and commitments each one of us is making to fight for a cleaner, safer, better world and a society that works for all of us.
Through sharing our stories, appreciating each other, and singing together, this group of people has shown me how strong of a community and movement Sunrise is. I know this sense of connection can help us through even the most difficult times in our movement.”
This team of young people is powerful and motivated in ways our country so badly needs. We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the streets, at the ballot box, and everywhere in between.
Thank you for reading and following along with our journey. To the midterms!