Caenna Rivas, 7th grade (“Climate Change”); Alexandra Silva, 10th grade (“Waves”); Natalie Lopez, 6th grade (“Problem”); Abigail Amove, 3rd grade “Cone and Sun”; Cecile Etzback, 4th grade (“Earth and Flames”)
The United States has one of the lowest rates of youth voter turnout in the world. The gap between 18- to 29-year-olds and those over 60, a common measuring stick, is more than twice as large here than it is in comparable democracies, like Canada and Germany.
And early evidence from the 2020 presidential race suggests that isn’t going to change this year. Youth turnout in the first states to hold primaries and caucuses has ranged from 10% in Alabama to 24% in Iowa.
Fewer than 1 in 5 young people cast ballots in all Super Tuesday states. Compared to primaries and caucuses in the past, fewer young people are voting in 2020, while older citizens are voting at higher rates. Overall, the share of Americans who vote appears to be rising.
These are guidelines of our movement which we all commit to uphold. Any action that does not embody these principles is not a Sunrise action.
- We are a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.
We unite to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.
- We grow our power through talking to our communities.
We talk to our neighbors, families, religious leaders, classmates, and teachers, in order to spread our word. Our strength and work is rooted in our local communities, and we are always growing in number.
- We are Americans from all walks of life.
We are of many colors and creeds, from the plains, mountains, and coasts. A wealthy few want to divide us, but we value each other in our differences and we are united in a shared fight to make real the promise of a society that works for all of us.
- We are nonviolent in word and deed.
Remaining nonviolent allows us to win the hearts of the public and welcomes the most people to participate. We need maximum participation in order to achieve our goals.
- We tell our stories and we honor each other’s stories.
We all have something to lose to climate change, and something to gain in coming together. We tell our individual stories to connect with each other and understand the many different ways this crisis impacts us.
- We ask for help and we give what we can.
We all have something to offer to the movement. Some of us give time through volunteering anywhere from 1 to 50 hours per week. Some of us give money. Some of us donate housing or meeting space. We invite our community into the movement by asking for the help we need.
- We take initiative.
Any group of 3 people can take action in the name of Sunrise. We ask for advice — not permission — from each other to make this happen. To make decisions, we ask ourselves, “does this bring us closer to our goal?” If yes, we simply do the work that is exciting and makes sense.
- We embrace experimentation and we learn together.
We welcome imperfection, share innovations, and learn through honest mistakes followed by honest conversations that help us move forward together. If we see something we don’t like, we contribute with something we do like, modeling an alternative.
- We take care of ourselves, each other, and our shared home.
We maintain our health of body, mind, spirit, and environment to the best of our ability so that we can maintain a strong movement together. We respect that for each of us this looks different.
- We stand with other movements for change.
Stopping climate change requires winning and holding power at every level of government. This is a huge job and we can’t do it alone. When it makes sense, we work with other movements who share our values and are also working to win political power.
- We shine bright.
There are hard and sad days, to be sure. This isn’t easy work. But we strive to bring a spirit of positivity and hope to everything we do. Changing the world is a fulfilling and joyful process, and we let that show.