Today, over 1,000 youth with Sunrise lobbied 50 Congressional offices and sat-in at the offices of Reps. Pelosi, Hoyer, and McGovern, demanding Democrats and their leaders in the House support the Select Committee for a Green New Deal before the holiday recess. In total, 143 were arrested during the sit-ins.
“The UN says we have 12 years to transform our economy and avert catastrophe,” said Varshini Prakash, Sunrise co-founder, as the sit-in began at Rep. Pelosi’s office. “Over 1,000 young people took over Capitol Hill today because we all deserve good jobs and a livable future. The Democrats need a plan to make it happen.”
Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer responded to the sit-in via Twitter, saying “I’m happy to hear from them about one of the most pressing issues of our time. Speaking out is exactly what our democracy is all about, and I appreciate their passion.”
In response, Sunrise spokesperson Varshini Prakash said, “We need you to do more than listen. We need you to take the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge and support the proposed Select Committee on a Green New Deal by the end of the year. We’re doing our job, will you do yours?” During his 20-year career in Congress, Rep. Hoyer has received over $250,000 from fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, and PACs.
Rep. Jim McGovern greeted the young protesters in-person, accepting the demands and pledging that he is committed to the Select Committee on a #GreenNewDeal. “The reason we’re talking about it is because you’re here,” he said amidst the protesters, congratulating the growing movement for putting the Green New Deal on the national agenda. Rep. McGovern later reaffirmed his commitment on Twitter.
“Any politician who wants to be taken seriously by our generation needs to support solutions that match the scale and urgency of the climate crisis,” said Prakash. “If the Democrats want the youth vote in 2020, they need to get to work on a Green New Deal in 2019.”