Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

Sunrise protesters on Cruz's lawn

Activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement concluded a six-week, 400-mile march from New Orleans to Houston on Monday with an action outside the home of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). (Photo: Rachael Warriner)

Sunrise Ends 400-Mile Climate March With Arrests at Ted Cruz's House

The Gulf South marchers demand that Congress and the Biden White House pass bold climate jobs legislation, including a bill to create a Civilian Climate Corps.

Jessica Corbett

After six weeks of marching 400 miles from New Orleans to Texas amid fruitless federal infrastructure negotiations, Sunrise Movement activists concluded their march on Monday with arrests outside the Houston home of renowned Republican climate villain Sen. Ted Cruz.

Eight demonstrators with the movement's "Generation on Fire" campaign were arrested on the Texas Republican's lawn while delivering a message to President Joe Biden.

"We protested outside of Ted Cruz's house to clearly lay out the choice Biden was making. We need Biden to work for us, not Cruz, the insurrectionist climate denier," Roshni Khosla, one of the Gulf South marchers, told Common Dreams.

Biden has many progressive lawmakers and activists concerned he may endorse a bipartisan infrastructure package that has been watered down from the White House's initial two-part proposal—which Sunrise and various experts already dubbed inadequate.

"We are a bit worried, but we know that we can make Biden bend," Khosla said. "Our powerful California march just ended last week. Our Gulf South march ended today. Our Philadelphia march is ending next Monday."

Noting plans for a rally in Washington, D.C. next week to pressure the president to support the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) for Jobs and Justice Act, she added that "we are far more powerful than the insurrectionist climate deniers Biden is choosing to negotiate with over us, Gulf South Youth marchers."

Sunrise campaigners on Monday held signs that said, "Our Homes Flood, Our People Freeze, Cruz Abandons Us"—referencing when Cruz vacationed in Mexico while Texans endured power outages earlier this year—as well as "Pass a Bold Civilian Climate Corps" and "Which Side Are You On, Biden?"

Critics of Cruz's trip to Cancún and Texas' decision to create its own power grid to buck federal regulations, including Sunrise, used the state's February crises to make a case for the Green New Deal, a resolution that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced in April.

That same day, the lawmakers also unveiled the CCC legislation. As Markey explained in the Boston Globe, they envision "a new, modern, equitable climate corps that puts Americans to work reducing carbon emissions, building our clean energy backbone, implementing conservation projects, and creating healthier and more resilient communities means we will build back better and we will build back greener."

Passing a bill to establish the New Deal era-inspired CCC—which supporters say would create 1.5 million jobs—is a key demand of the Sunrise marchers, along with their call for Biden to "stop negotiating with moderates and the GOP on climate jobs legislation and fight for what the people need."

"Biden, I voted for you because I thought I was securing my future, but every day since inauguration I've woken up with the same fears," said 19-year-old marcher Ishan Gupta in a statement.

"Your decision to work with the same people who won't upgrade Texas' power network to save us from blackouts this summer is a slap in the face," Gupta added. "Deliver on your promises so I can have a future doing meaningful work like fixing our power grid."

The "Generation on Fire" youth are further calling on Biden to block Formosa Plastics Group from constructing a large petrochemical complex in an area of Louisiana called "Cancer Alley." The site of the proposed complex in St. James Parish was a stop on the 400-mile march.

"This specific route was chosen because it is the path of many climate refugees who are escaping damage from hurricanes in New Orleans," Khosla told Common Dreams. "Our 17-year-old marcher Chanté Davis' family made that move after Katrina."

After Davis' family fled to Houston, the Texas city was hit by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, before enduring power outages along with food and water shortages due to winter weather and infrastructure issues earlier this year.

"I am only 17 years old, and I have lived through the kind of climate disasters that I know are not going to stop," Davis wrote for Teen Vogue this month. "I often wonder what the next 17 years will bring. Who's going to help us? Will I have to relocate again?"

According to Davis:

We're angry that Biden and Congress have not done more to combat the imminent threat of climate change. We are angry that we are being neglected at a time when many of us are under- or unemployed. We are marching because right now, we have an economy that places profits over the well-being of Black and brown communities. We are marching through the sweltering summer heat because we need good jobs and real solutions to save our planet. We are rising up like the individual flames of a generation on fire.

Along with the march, Sunrise has recently held actions outside the White House and the San Francisco home of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The rally in the nation's capital is scheduled for June 28.

"We want everyone feeling empowered by our action to join us in D.C. on the 28th," said Khosla, "or take action wherever you are! We don't have time to sit around."

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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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.

'Outrageous and Shameful': Dems May Cut Paid Leave Due to Manchin's Opposition

Decrying the plan, advocacy groups vowed that "the American people are not going to allow that essential human need to be ignored and negotiated away behind closed doors."

Jessica Corbett ·

Open Letter Warns Trump's 'Big Lie' GOP Poses Existential Threat to Democracy

"Now is the time for leaders in all walks of life—for citizens of all political backgrounds and persuasions—to come to the aid of the republic."

Brett Wilkins ·

Ahead of Historic House Hearing, Fresh Big Oil Misinformation Campaign Exposed

"It's always helpful to remember that big fossil fuel companies (besides being overwhelmingly responsible for carbon pollution) are also skeevy disinformation hucksters."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Very Welcome' Progress as Iran Agrees to Restart Talks on Nuclear Deal Sabotaged by Trump

One peace advocate urged all sides to reconvene negotiations "as soon as possible and with renewed urgency" to avert "disastrous" consequences for Iran and the world.

Brett Wilkins ·

House Progressives: 'When We Said These Two Bills Go Together, We Meant It'

"Moving the infrastructure bill forward without the popular Build Back Better Act risks leaving behind working people, families, and our communities."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo