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What We Believe

Sunrise’s Principles

Sunrise’s Principles are guidelines which we all commit to upholding. Any action, member, or group that does not embody these principles are not a part of Sunrise.

Sunrise’s Principles

Three activists, arm and arm as they march for a Green New Deal.

1. We grow our power through organizing our communities.

We bring our neighbors, families, classmates, community leaders, and thousands of unorganized young people into our movement. Building a mass movement of ordinary people across race and class is the only way we transform society.


2. We are rooted in what we’re fighting for.

We all have something to lose to the climate crisis and something to gain in coming together. We tell our stories about race, class, where we’re from, and who we are to remind ourselves and the public of that truth. This is how we build a powerful movement.

Sunrise Movement Work Party

3. We are all on a journey to become better organizers, leaders, and people.

Our opposition is powerful and disciplined: we need to be too. We take our own growth seriously by developing our craft as organizers and learning from our mistakes. We do this with compassion for ourselves and each other.

An Activist of Sunrise Reading Out the Priniciples

4. We rise to the challenge.

This moment in history requires us to take risks, embrace experimentation, and do things we never believed were possible. We choose hope over cynicism and action over fear – when we step into leadership, make hard decisions, or take to the streets.

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5. We transform ourselves so our movement can win.

We are fighting to become the generation that turns the tide against racism and the institutions built upon it. We unlearn oppressive attitudes and fearlessly confront a
status quo that divides us based on our skin color, the money in our pockets, where we live, who we love, and who we are. Getting there is a lifelong journey, and we prepare for it to be so.

Sunrise Movement Organize Vote Strike

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

Some of us give time, others give money, donate housing, or offer skills. When we are struggling, we reach out for support. We redistribute our resources to grow our community and enable more people to participate in the movement.

Three activists laying on the grass together.

7. We respect each other and our shared home.

The only way we will win is with a movement of everyday people. We treat every person we meet with the respect that belief requires. To do that we have to build trusting relationships that let us hold each other accountable across rank, race, and other identities.

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 are a united movement.

Every time we knock doors, take action, or talk about the Green New Deal, we know that there are thousands of other Sunrisers working alongside us. We ground our work locally, and throw down together at key moments to transform our whole country.

9. We oppose state violence with nonviolent action.

We live in a violent, militarized state that evicts, deports, incarcerates and brutalizes everyday people and then looks away as fires and floods destroy our homes. Those in power use this violence to keep us scared, disempowered, and divided along lines of race, class, and geography. We, as Sunrise, will not win by confronting their violence with violent actions. We combat their violence by boldly organizing our communities across race and class. This helps us protect ourselves and our communities as much as we can, bring the most people in, and build the power we need to win.

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 are in solidarity with other movements for change.

Winning a Green New Deal is one step in the project of collective liberation. We learn from the legacy of movements that came before us, stand beside groups who share our values, and unite in key moments to shift the balance of power in our country.

Young Sunrise Movement organizer speaks to cameras in front of crowd holding Green New Deal Banners. Photo by Ken Schles 5684

11. We are full of determination, fire, and hope.

Though our times are often dark and difficult, we know that sinking into despair is not an option. We choose to believe in ourselves and our movements, and make space for light and love in our lives. Changing the world is a joyful and fulfilling process, and we let that show.

Sunrise’s Principles for Over 35 Supporters

People who don’t identify as youth are still invited to show up and be active members of Sunrise. We know that everyone has something to lose to the climate crisis and everything to gain by stopping it. Check out our guide for adult and elder allies. Thank you!