Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Over 150 middle and high school students demonstrated at the U.S. Capitol building Monday to urge senators to back the Green New Deal. (Photo credit: Sunrise Movement)

Over 150 middle and high school students demonstrated at the U.S. Capitol building Monday to urge senators to back the Green New Deal. (Photo credit: Sunrise Movement)

'Done Playing by the Rules,' 20 Sunrise Activists Arrested at Capitol Protest Demanding Lawmakers Back Green New Deal

Over 150 middle- and high-schoolers gathered to demand senators "stand up or step aside" on the climate crisis.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Twenty teenagers were arrested Monday at the U.S. Capitol as they took part in a Sunrise Movement action demanding senators back the Green New Deal.

Those arrested, which included one 13-year-old, according to Sunrise, were part of larger climate action by more than 150 middle- and high-schoolers calling for the lawmakers to "step up or step aside."

"Instead of leaving our classrooms for our day off, we are bringing our classroom to the capitol because our government is failing to protect our generation, and we're terrified," said 17-year-old John Paul Mejia of Miami.

Video shared on the group's social media pages showed activists chanting "Which side are you on?" and holding "report cards" giving non-Green New Deal backers an F-.  At least two participants took to the floor of lobby to give speeches about the importance of urgent climate action by lawmakers before police came and demanded they leave. A large group left and continued their protest outside Union Station while a smaller group remained and was ultimately escorted away by police.

Evan Weber, who heads political strategy for Sunrise, said that it was "Sad that this is what young people have to do to make our voices heard."

Don't expect the climate group to let up anytime soon. Among their upcoming agenda items are three consecutive days of "massive srikes" set to begin Earth Day, April 22.

"It's only going to get worse unless thousands take action and force those in power to listen to our generation."
—Selene Santiago-Lopez
"We're done playing by the rules," declared 18-year-old Selene Santiago-Lopez of Wake Forest, N.C., who was among those arrested Monday, in a press statement. "Our entire lives, we've seen politicians failing our generation and our communities. People are dying, I'm terrified about what my future will look like, and it's only going to get worse unless thousands take action and force those in power to listen to our generation. That's exactly what we're going to do."

"Building up to Earth Day this year," she added, "you can expect to see what happened today, but bigger and bolder."

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who unveiled the Green New Deal legislation last year alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), vocally supported the young climate activists and their Monday action.

"Young people deserve a future free from the climate crisis," Markey said on Twitter. "They deserve a Green New Deal that will protect our planet and create millions of union jobs. I stand with Sunrise Movement activists who took action today at the Capitol and will always fight for their future."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·

Lawmakers Tell Biden US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Ban Landmines

"If the United States takes these steps it will be welcomed around the world."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·