A well-publicized sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in November had a galvanizing impact for the Sunrise Movement.
“There was all this enthusiasm around Sunrise, and it just kind of exploded,” says Ashley McDermott, one of the founding members of the organization’s Asheville chapter. People began hearing about the group and its mission to stop climate change while also creating jobs — a mission that dovetails with the Green New Deal resolution proposed by congressional Democrats, including freshman House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The local chapter of Sunrise is one of many that have started across the U.S. The Asheville group kicked off with a February meeting at the YWCA, which McDermott says brought in roughly 80 attendees. Although it’s still early in the organization’s work, she estimates that there are about 30 active members, primarily high school and college students.
“The youngest generation … they are particularly focused on climate change,” she says. “They’re the ones who have this emotional connection to it the most. They’re seeing and experiencing it now.”
Over the coming year, McDermott says the national organization is hoping to jump-start conversations at a local level through chapters such as the Asheville group and will be putting a specific focus on the 2020 elections.
Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.