Sunrise Movement PDX began with a group of young people heeding the call to create a space in Portland’s climate justice community for youth to come together and uplift each other’s voices. We strive to empower our generations to become active and take leadership in this movement.
We're building a movement of young people 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 are ordinary young people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love. We are gathering in classrooms, living rooms, and worship halls across the country. Everyone has a role to play. Public opinion is already with us - if we unite by the millions we can turn this into political power and reclaim our democracy.
We are not looking to the right or left.
We look forward.
Our air, water, and home are threatened.
For millennia, we have depended on a stable climate, which has shaped every part of our way of life. Now, we face the frightening reality that this foundation will crumble within our lifetimes unless we take immediate and decisive action to transform our energy system. Communities across America are already feeling severe impacts, with working-class people and people of color being hit hardest.
Solutions are ready to go, and they’ll make our lives better.
Wind and solar energy are now cheaper than the polluting oil, gas, and coal of yesterday. If we stop wasting billions in taxpayer money giving handouts to oil and gas CEOs, we can halt climate change and create tens of millions of jobs by upgrading America’s outdated infrastructure. We could enter a new age of prosperity and health and bring forward the people this country has left behind.
But a greedy few are driving us toward catastrophe.
This brighter future is being held hostage by a handful of wealthy oil and gas executives who will stop at nothing to squeeze the last bit of money out of the earth. They’ve gotten away with it by lying to the public and buying off politicians of both parties to stall progress and secure massive giveaways for themselves. Their incredible wealth means their families will be fine, but the rest of us won’t.
We will not be divided.
To keep up this scheme, they pit us against each other -- by political party, skin color, and where we live. They tell us that one community has to suffer for another to thrive. They say some children must breathe toxic air so that others can have electricity. They say some parents must choose between a dangerous and polluting job, and no job at all. They say climate refugees from other countries are simply not our concern. They divide us up and exploit us each in different ways, while they get massive bonuses. We say no more.
We are the majority. We will win.
We are ordinary young people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love. We are gathering in classrooms, living rooms, and worship halls across the country. Everyone has a role to play. Public opinion is already with us -- if we unite by the millions, we can turn this into political power and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.
Norms help us set a model of how we want to be when we work together on a team. They are a guiding resource we can point back to, and are available to us to use when holding one another accountable to following how we want to be together.
Eyes on the prize
We’re here to make transformational change in society, and we can’t get bogged down in disagreements over small details. Remembering that everyone is here for the same fundamental reason allows us to see past non-critical differences of opinion, and to work most effectively toward the future that we are here to create.
We center love
The injustices that have brought us together in this fight are frightening and undignified, and it’s natural to have feelings of despair and anger at times. We support each other at these moments, but we land on a message of hope and love. Love is how we inspire our society to great action.
Move up, move back
If you’re someone who is very vocal in meetings, take a pause and move back to encourage others to speak so we can hear a wider variety of voices and ideas. A helpful way to think about this is the W.A.I.T acronym: before you speak, ask yourself: Why Am I Talking/Not Talking?
We are a learning community
This means there’s no such thing as a “silly question,” and we’re not afraid to ask for clarification on something when we don’t understand. If we use jargon or acronyms, we don’t assume prior knowledge. Instead, we always unpack what we mean to make the conversation accessible to all.
Notice intent, lean towards impact
When we disagree, or cause harm to someone in the group, we acknowledge the impact of our words or actions instead of defending our intent. Impact matters, and when we cause harm to someone, we apologize and move forward.
If a harm is done in a meeting, we can acknowledge it in the open simply by saying “ouch” if you were the one who felt harmed, while the person who made the harm can say “oops.” This allows for a full-group learning about what occurred, so harms aren’t brushed away and ignored.
Calling in vs calling out
Everyone makes mistakes— calling in means valuing every member of our community and asking them to grow with us instead of tearing them down. We lovingly hold each other accountable and proactively address issues that affect us.
Using “I” perspective
We speak with “I” statements as individuals (“I feel ___ about ___”) instead of making accusations or guessing about the feelings and intentions of our peers (“You did ___ because ___.”) We always assume good intent with our fellow organizers.
We take Progressive Stack
In meetings, taking stack is a way to slow the conversation down and make sure that everyone who wants to speak is given the opportunity to speak. Progressive stack takes this a step further, encouraging people on the stack list of a marginalized or oppressed identity to have the opportunity to move up the stack list and speak first.
Meet people in the middle, recognize everyone has something to offer