The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sofie Karasek,

AOC, Sanders Rally Audience at Sunrise Movement's Green New Deal Event to Close Month-Long National Tour


Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez headlined the final stop of the Road to a Green New Deal Tour, rallying a crowd of 1,500 people at the Cramton Auditorium at Howard University. The event capped off a month with over 200 town halls across the country where tens of thousands of people gathered to hear how the Green New Deal would improve their communities and get the tools and resources to pressure their policymakers to get behind it.

During her speech, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, "And I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are gonna try to come back today say we need a middle of the road approach to save our lives. That is too much for me."

"From California to Kansas to Kentucky the story is the same: climate change is here, it's destroying lives and livelihoods," said Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash, who spent the last month on tour. "Over the next few months, we'll be mobilizing our chapters around the country to make sure that every candidate knows that if they want our energy, if they want our votes, if they want our passion, they need to support the Green New Deal."

Speakers included: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Ed Markey; Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement; Judith Howell, SEIU 32BJ member; Payton Wilkins, HBCU Climate Consortium Alumni & Executive Director of Black Trade Unionists Education Center; Naomi Klein, author and activist; Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director of Justice Democrats; Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Policy Lead for the Green New Deal at New Consensus; Kari Fulton, environmental justice advocate and journalist; and Jeremiah Lowery, environmental justice activist.

Speakers touted the movement's accomplishments over the past 6 months since the Sunrise Movement stormed Nancy Pelosi's DC office following the midterm elections demanding the Democrats make a plan to stop climate change. All the major Democratic Presidential contenders except Joe Biden say they back the Green New Deal, 104 members of Congress have co-sponsored Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's resolution, and more than 200 Sunrise chapters have launched in the last five months.

Polls also show that the Green New Deal goals are broadly supported among voters of both parties and the Green New Deal a top-two issue for Democratic primary voters. Last week, a CNN poll showed that 96% of Democratic voters say it is very important for a Presidential candidate to "take aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change," more than any other issue they asked about.

Following the tour, Sunrise will mobilize chapters across the country to pressure all the candidates to meet three demands ahead of a massive demonstration at the Detroit Presidential debate in July: 1) sign the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, 2) commit to making the Green New Deal -- a WWII-scale federal government led mobilization of the society and economy to stop climate change and create economic prosperity for all -- the top priority for on Day 1 and throughout their administration, and 3) join us in calling on the DNC to host a climate debate so that we have a chance to hear where all the candidates stand on this issue.

Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.