The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact:, Stevie O’Hanlon

Sunrise kicks off climate disaster response campaign

As experts predict a record-breaking summer of heat and hurricanes, Sunrise Movement leaders from around the country gathered yesterday on Zoom to get trained on planning protests in response to climate disasters. The protests, modeled after Sunrise’s actions in response to the Texas Freeze, will spotlight the role of fossil fuel companies in causing the climate crisis and demand action from politicians, from state and local officials to President Biden. Last week, Sunrise Phoenix kicked off the wave of protests by holding a die-in at City Hall, in reference to the record 645 people who died last year in Maricopa county from extreme heat.

“When climate disasters hit, the media puts our pain on the news, but not the cause,” said Sunrise Executive Director Aru Shiney-Ajay. “They let Big Oil and bought-out politicians oil off the hook. This year, that ends. The next time there is a wildfire, a flood, or a hurricane, Sunrise will be there to put the floodlights on the fossil fuel executives and corrupt politicians who put millions of lives at risk.”

The training included preparation on how best to respond to different types of disasters and put pressure on elected officials in the wake of disaster. Organizers plan to use these actions to continue urging President Biden to declare a climate emergency and using the full extent of his executive authorities to prepare communities for disaster. They also plan to focus attention on GOP Governors like Ron DeSantis, who recently banned municipalities from mandating water breaks for workers laboring outdoors in extreme heat.

“When the Texas Freeze happened and natural gas failed us, politicians like Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz gave us statements that could be summed up as ‘thoughts and prayers’ when what we really needed was a Green New Deal,” said Sunrise Campaign Director and Texan Kidus Girma . “We deserve a reliable grid, green union jobs, and a government owned by everyday people—not Big Oil . While Cruz fled to Cancun, Sunrisers across Texas practiced mutual aid and took direct action against gas billionaires like Jerry Jones. This year, we plan to do that tenfold.”

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