DNC’s Decision to Nix Climate Change Debate Sparks Youth Activists’ Outrage

Protesters with the Sunrise Movement stage a sit-in in the office of Rep. Steny Hoyer, now the House majority leader, late last year to demand a Green New Deal.
AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE

On Thursday the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted against holding a 2020 Democrat presidential debate focused on climate change, a move that sparked members of the Sunrise Movement and other youth activists to immediately stage protests against the establishment wing of the Party.

“The committee’s 8-17 vote on the resolution outraged members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement in attendance, who stood on their seats and sang the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?” before walking out,” Common Dreams, a pro-climate change website, reported.

“We deserve a chance at a livable future,” a Sunrise Movement activist yelled after the vote, according to Huffington Post. “We deserve a climate debate.”

“California was literally on fire last year — we know firsthand that climate breakdown is killing people and destroying livelihoods right now,” Alex Morrison, a 26-year-old member of the Sunrise Movement said in a statement. “Time is running out to save our generation. Young people need to know which candidates for president are treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is.”

The committee did reverse a ban on 2020 candidates participating in forums not officially sanctioned by the DNC.

”This partial victory shows the strength of the grassroots movement and the power of young people,” said Sunrise Movement spokesperson Sofie Karasek. “In the coming days and months, we’ll keep fighting to make sure the DNC and Tom Perez treat the climate crisis like the emergency that it is, and give it the airtime and attention that it deserves.”

The Guardian reported ahead of the vote to nix the climate change debate:

Supporters of a debate say they won’t be deterred. There are plans to bring the resolution to the convention floor for a vote on Saturday. And, if that doesn’t work, they plan to continue to raise the issue throughout the long primary campaign, with the hopes that candidates will take up the issue and demand the debate themselves.

“Last month, both CNN and MSNBC announced climate-focused forums for presidential candidates,” Common Dreams reported. “Though activists welcomed those events, they continue to demand a DNC-sanctioned debate.”

Some of the other leftwing groups that are pressing for the Democrat candidates to participate in a climate change debate include CREDO Action, Bold Alliance, billionaire and Democrat candidate Tom Steyer’s NextGen America, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote, 350.org, and Friends of the Earth.

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