Washington DC — Members of the Sunrise Movement marched down Pennsylvania Avenue advocating for political action on climate change in Washington, DC. New York Reps. Jamaal Bowman and, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined progressive activists from the Sunrise Movement for a protest outside the White House on Monday, June 28th to demand that President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan prioritizes the fight against climate change, letting him know, he could run into resistance from members of his own party as he focuses on passing a bipartisan bill through Congress.
“I was proud to join the Sunrise Movement at the White House today, and stand up for the parts of my district most historically neglected like Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, and the Northeast Bronx,” Congressman Bowman shared with Black Westchester. “I stand with Sunrise in their efforts to pressure the Biden administration to go big, bold and visionary in their investment in our infrastructure. It’s inspiring to see the leadership of young people who understand that this is our time to rebuild our country, and we cannot waste this moment. When the New Deal was implemented and we rebuilt America, it kept out care workers, it kept out farm workers, and it redlined Black communities. We can and must do better now and create New Deal that includes and invests in Black America. That’s what NY-16 needs and that is what the country needs.”
The march, which drew hundreds of members from across the country, began in John Marshall Memorial Park and finished in Lafayette Square outside the White House, where members of congress, like Cori Bush, D-Mo, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-NY, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, spoke to the group (see video of Bowman below).
In 2020, young people organized in historic numbers to take back Congress and elect Joe Biden on a bold climate mandate. Their priorities then were clear as they are now: confront the twin crises of climate change and economic insecurity, root the solutions in racial justice, and put their politics on a path that makes a livable future possible.
They feel they did their job, and delivered the new President a commanding victory. They are now demanding in 2021, it’s time for Joe Biden to do his. “Our futures and our lives are not negotiable.”
Protesters gathered for the sit-in-style action near the White House to push for Biden’s infrastructure bill to create a Civilian Climate Corps, a federal entity that would focus on job creation in renewable energy sectors and other green industries.
After months of negotiations, Biden cut a deal with a group of Republican senators last week for a scaled-down infrastructure package worth roughly $1 trillion that focuses mostly on fixing the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, transit systems and other physical structures, with some cash for climate resiliency efforts.
“Joe, the climate crisis is here and your current compromised plan fails to protect this country from devastating disasters and dire economic consequences,” Nikayla Jefferson wrote on the Sunrise Movement website, “Failure will be your Presidential legacy if you pass anything less than transformative climate justice in the American Jobs Plan.”
Their White-House Sit-In Demands:
- No Compromise, No Excuses. Democrats must take their power seriously and do what’s needed with or without the GOP.
- Meet with the People Who Elected You. We demand that Biden set up a meeting with Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of Sunrise Movement, and other movement leaders to hear our demands on infrastructure and negotiate with us.
- Fully Fund the Civilian Climate Corps. This moment demands bold action and a significant infrastructure package to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. That is why we need a fully funded Civilian Climate Corps to put over 1.5 million Americans to work in good paying union jobs while combating climate change and building a sustainable future for our generation – all while giving us hope for the future and changing how we see the government.
“We demand you step up to your position as the highest elected leader in a party powerful with a federal majority, and act on your elected mandate. It starts with the American Jobs Plan: good jobs are economic justice, and Civilian Climate Corps jobs are climate justice.”