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'We Need an Unprecedented Transformation in Every Sector': 250 Climate Activists Stage Sit-in at Pelosi's San Francisco Office

Protest follows surge of support for the Green New Deal, with more than a dozen House Democrats signing on to the call since Monday

pelosi sit-in

Activists with the Sunrise Movement staged a sit-in at the San Francisco district office of presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday. (Photo: Sunrise Bay Area/Twitter)

"How many natural disasters and unnecessary deaths will it take before politicians truly accept that we are in the middle of a moral and existential emergency?"

"If Nancy Pelosi is up to date on the latest climate science, then she knows that we need an unprecedented transformation in every sector of the economy."
—Morissa Zuckerman, Sunrise Movement

That's what 24-year-old Morissa Zuckerman—one of 250 youth climate activists and constituents who staged a sit-in at the San Francisco office of presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday—wants to know.

"If Nancy Pelosi is up to date on the latest climate science, then she knows that we need an unprecedented transformation in every sector of the economy over the next 12 years," Zuckerman said in a statement. "Planning for a Green New Deal is common sense. It's the Democratic Party's ticket to the White House."

While a surge of support since Monday—after at least 1,000 youth activists flooded Capitol Hill and more than 140 were arrested—has brought the total number of incoming House Democrats calling for the creation of a select committee for a Green New Deal to 35, Pelosi is not yet among them. The protesters hope to change that.

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The demand for a Green New Deal—a set of policies that would simultaneously address the global climate crisis as well as create jobs and a more just economy—has been championed by youth activists across the country and a slate of incoming progressive House Democrats.

That coalition of "climate hawks" includes the youngest woman ever elected to Congress: Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The 29-year-old—whose challenge to Democratic Party leadership began with her stunning primary victory in June—even joined a protest at Pelosi's D.C. office last month.

"If young people, the largest voting bloc in the country, are supposed to support Democratic Party leadership, then those elected officials need to show real leadership and take action to protect the future," said Nina Gordon-Kirsch, another participant in the San Francisco sit-in, where activists blocked four entrances to the Federal Building.

"We need a Green New Deal," Gordon-Kirsch added, "and it must address the disproportionate effects that climate change has on front-line and marginalized communities, as well as all workers and working people."

Here is the full list of Democrats currently backing the call for the select committee as tallied by the Sunrise Movement:

  1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.-14)

  2. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.-13)

  3. Ro Khanna (Calif.-17)

  4. Deb Haaland (N.M.-01)

  5. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.-03)

  6. Joe Neguse (Colo.-02)

  7. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.-12)

  8. Jose Serrano (N.Y.-15)

  9. John Lewis (Ga.-05)

  10. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.-07)

  11. Jared Huffman (Calif.-02)

  12. Ilhan Omar (Minn.-05)

  13. Ted Lieu (Calif.-33)

  14. Jamie Raskin (Md.-08)

  15. Chellie Pingree (Maine-01)

  16. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii-02)

  17. Mike Levin (Calif.-49)

  18. Jackie Speier (Calif.-14)

  19. Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.-7)

  20. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.-13)

  21. Gerry Connolly (Va.-11)

  22. Katherine Clark (Mass.-05)

  23. Barbara Lee (Calif.-13)

  24. James McGovern (Mass.-2)

  25. Peter Welch (Vt.-at large)

  26. Steve Cohen (Tenn.-9)

  27. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D.C.)

  28. Joe Kennedy (Mass.-4)

  29. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.-7)

  30. Mark Pocan (Wis.-2)

  31. Mike Quigley (Ill.-05)

  32. Judy Chu (Calif.-27)

  33. David Cicilline (R.I.-01)

  34. Chris Pappas (N.H.-01)

  35. Annie Kuster (N.H.-02)

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