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The youth-led Sunrise Movement held a three-day sit-in outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee to demand a climate-specific 2020 debate. (Photo: Sunrise Movement)

'Time to Turn Up the Heat': Sunrise Movement Unveils 7-Week Organizing Plan to Force DNC Approval of 2020 Climate Debate

"We have seven weeks to kick our climate debate campaign into high gear and push the Democratic leadership to start treating climate change like the emergency it is."

Jake Johnson

With the DNC set to vote next month on whether to host a 2020 presidential debate focused specifically on the climate crisis, the youth-led Sunrise Movement is planning a mass mobilization aimed at ensuring the Democratic leadership approves the grassroots demand that is backed by nearly every Democratic presidential contender and 64 percent of the party's voters.

"We're going to show up at the offices of our local DNC members and make sure that they feel the pressure."
—Sunrise Movement

During the DNC's national meeting on August 22-24, committee members from each state are expected to vote on a resolution calling for an official climate-focused debate, which activists argued is more necessary than ever after the first two Democratic debates in Miami, Florida devoted a combined 15 minutes to the planetary emergency.

Ahead of the vote, Sunrise said it plans to hold demonstrations at the local offices of DNC members nationwide to make clear that "the people demand a climate debate."

"For the next seven weeks until that meeting," Sunrise said in an email to supporters on Wednesday, "we're going to show up at the offices of our local DNC members and make sure that they feel the pressure."

"To win, we need to make Democratic Party members in every state feel the urgency of the climate crisis and the absolute need for a climate debate," the group said. "That means we're going to need demonstrations at Democratic Party offices across the country: Whether that's a speak-out outside their office, an office takeover, a sit-in, or sitting-in outside."

Last week, as 2020 Democratic presidential candidates debated inside the Knight Concert Hall in Miami, dozens of youth Sunrise activists camped out on the steps of the DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C. to demand a climate debate.

It appears the pressure campaign had an impact, despite DNC chairman Tom Perez's opposition to a climate-specific debate.

On Saturday, HuffPost reported, the DNC executive committee voted unanimously to send a climate debate resolution to a vote before the full committee.

Now, Sunrise said on its website, "It's time to turn up the heat."

Sunrise will not be alone in mobilizing in support of a climate debate before the DNC's vote next month.

In an email to supporters on Wednesday, 350 Action said it is "building an army of volunteers to keep the pressure on the DNC ahead of their August 23rd decision."

"In the first two debates, just six percent of questions were climate-related. Giving mere lip service to the greatest existential threat the world faces today is unacceptable," said Jenny Marienau, program manager at 350 Action. "The climate crisis deserves more than 6% of our attention—we need a 100 percent focused climate conversation if we are serious about solving this existential threat."


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