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For Immediate Release


Sofie Karasek, 617-416-7454,

Press Release



In a partial victory for young climate organizers nationwide after months of campaigning, members of the Democratic National Committee’s Resolutions Committee voted to reverse the ban on presidential candidates participating side-by-side in non-DNC sanctioned events to discuss the climate crisis this morning. The reversal passed in the form of an amendment to a resolution sponsored by Travis Robertson Jr., the state chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Pro-debate members of the committee vowed to continue the fight in front of the full voting session of the annual meeting this Saturday. Over 350 people, from Sunrise and allied groups, packed the room. 64% of Democratic voters and all leading 2020 candidates—including Biden, Sanders, Harris, and Warren—have endorsed having a climate debate.

"This partial victory shows the strength of the grassroots movement and the power of young people. In the coming days and months, we’ll keep fighting to make sure the DNC and Tom Perez treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is, and give it the airtime and attention that it deserves," said Sunrise Movement spokesperson Sofie Karasek. 

Proponents argue that a climate debate would transform the politics around the biggest existential threat facing humanity, and force the politicians who want to lead the United States into taking the climate crisis more seriously than ever before. Young people held more than 20 rallies and sit-ins at Democratic Party offices in support of the proposal in recent weeks, garnered the endorsements of 24 state party chairs and over 100 voting members, and the backing of dozens of city and county Democratic parties. A coalition of groups supporting the resolution collected over 354,000 signatures.

“California was literally on fire last year—we know firsthand that climate breakdown is killing people and destroying livelihoods right now,” said Alex Morrison, 26, who moved to San Francisco from South Florida and volunteers with Sunrise. “Time is running out to save our generation. Young people need to know which candidates for president are treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is.”

The campaign for a climate debate reached a turning point in June when, amidst growing calls for a climate debate from major presidential candidates and voters, the DNC banned candidates from participating in third-party debates and refused to host one themselves.

“Poll after poll shows that the climate crisis is at the top of the agenda for American voters right now,” said Ken Martin, one of the resolution’s sponsors and the Chairman of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party. “If we Democrats are serious about electing a new president and committed progressives up and down the ticket, then we should start following the lead of the young people whose energy will be critical to win in 2020.”

Following Thursday’s vote, more than 600 members of Sunrise will gather in San Francisco for the first ever Sunrise West Summit to learn about action planning, volunteer recruitment, partnership building, and other core skills to grow the movement. Sunrise will also join the global climate strikes on September 20th leading up to the special U.N. Climate Summit in NYC on the 23rd.


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

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