Dozens of Washington Youth Demand US Senators Sign Onto Green New Deal

SEATTLE, WA – Monday morning, over 30 youth from Sunrise Movement visited the offices of U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D–WA) and Maria Cantwell (D–WA) demanding they sign onto the Green New Deal resolution. Sunrisers were diverted by security to an auditorium where they gave testimony, sang songs, and urged their elected officials to take immediate and extreme action to avoid climate disaster, starting by signing on to the Green New Deal Resolution. Each young person in attendance presented symbols and personal belongings they burned to represent the threat of climate change in their lives. Neither Senator was present at the event; instead, representatives from Sen. Cantwell’s and Sen. Murray’s office attended to receive the Sunrisers’ testimony.

“This is the fourth time Sunrise youth have visited the senators’ offices demanding that they sign onto the Green New Deal, and we still have heard no answers,” explains Chris Connolly, 24-year-old volunteer organizer with Sunrise Movement in Seattle. “Our house is on fire, our lungs have been choked by wildfire smoke, and Senators Cantwell and Murray and the political establishment are acting like there isn’t even a problem. It’s time for them to sponsor the only plan to tackle the climate crisis at the scale of the problem: The Green New Deal.  ”

Sunrisers from as far as Tacoma attended the action. Community members in attendance ranged from middle schoolers to grandparents. Students as young as 14 took the day off of school and adults took the day off of work in order to communicate their demands with Senators Murray and Cantwell. This action comes on the heels of the December 6th Youth Climate Strikes, during which over 300 strikes occurred across the nation. Less than three weeks ago, a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raised alarms, stating that emissions need to be cut by 7.6% every year from now until 2030 in order to avert climate chaos.

“We will continue to push for climate action because the youth deserve a future,” says Kimaya Mahajan, 15, leader with WA Youth Climate Strike. “The inaction of the adults in power is selfish and unconstitutional and we will continue to make our voices heard, not at the ballot boxes, but in the streets and in buildings, striking from school—because what is the point of studying for a future that is being burnt before our eyes?”

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Leader of Fridays for Future Seattle Zoe Schurman, 14, agrees, stating, “Unless the right people are in office, who will take the bold, immediate action on climate that is necessary to protect our futures, the youth won’t stop striking. We will continue to take to the streets until our voices are heard.”

An overwhelming 62% of Washingtonians already support the Green New Deal according to Data for Progress. It has been over a year since U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first launched a resolution to create a committee on the Green New Deal. Sunrise Movement is calling for elected leaders to champion a Green New Deal that would create millions of good jobs transforming our economy, stopping climate change, and ensuring that no Washingtonian experience wildfire smoke similar to the summer of 2018.

“We will continue to pressure the senators until they commit to the Green New Deal,” says Connolly. Sunrise Seattle will have their next general meeting to discuss further steps on Saturday, December 28th, at 6:30pm at Gethsemane Church (911 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101). 

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