Climate activists conclude 24-hour occupation at DNC, demanding President-Elect Biden act on climate change
Advocates for bold climate agenda demand action to create millions of new jobs while addressing intersecting crises of climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequity
November 18th, 2020 (Washington D.C.) A coalition of grassroots groups, Black, Indigenous, and Brown leaders from across the nation occupied the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in Washington for 24 hours to demand that President-Elect Biden and his administration follow through on a bold agenda to address the climate crisis. They were joined at an afternoon rally by members of Congress who are leading the effort in the House and Senate to hold the incoming administration to its promises.
The occupation was led by youth, movement leaders, frontline activists, and artists collectively representing a range of identities and communities confronting the interlocking crises in front of us. For 24 hours, the group marched, created art, and called on Biden to live up to his mandate to invest in Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities.
As Jennifer K. Falcon of the Indigenous Environmental Network put it: “We are beyond the tipping point with climate chaos. We must act quickly to mitigate the climate chaos we are experiencing for the sky, land and water. The people demand President-elect Biden move to a just transition centered in Indigenous knowledge so that Mother Earth can heal. We can't afford to continue to fight climate change with false solutions and carbon mechanisms that allow big polluters to pollute. It's time to divest from fossil fuels and invest in a regenerative economy that allows us to thrive.”
Keya Chatterjee, Executive Director of the US Climate Action Network, co-emcee of the event, said, “We are going to stay here overnight, we're going to stay here and bring in stories from all over the country of people who have lost their lives and people who are dealing with the pain of these overlapping crises, of the climate crisis, the pandemic of the racial injustice and we're going to stay here until we tell our stories and we're going to invite folks to join us in the share commitment to a future where we can all thrive."
“Let’s cut to the chase,” said Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Policy Coordinator, Climate Justice Alliance. “Marginalized Black, Brown, and Indigenous folk came out to vote, which is the only reason there will even be a Biden administration. The President-Elect must center these communities and dismantle the root causes of interlinked crises including COVID and climate change - white ‘supremacy,’ patriarchy, and colonization. Our lives, our people and our solutions must be respected and seen, every day, as important as our votes every two and four years.”
On Thursday afternoon, the group was joined by members of Congress, including newly-elected Representatives who won on the power of a bold climate agenda.
“Thanks to the hard work of young people, working-class people, and communities of color, our movement elected President-Elect Joe Biden and candidates like myself by historic margins,” said Representative-Elect Mondaire Jones. “Now, with just years left before irreparable damage is done to our planet, we have the opportunity to honor the promises we made on the campaign trail and get to work to end environmental racism and invest in a green jobs program that will help all Americans."
Representative-Elect Jones was joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rh Khanna, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep-Elect Jamaal Bowman, and Senator Ed Markey.
The message coming from this diverse array of speakers, from across the country and from the grassroots to the halls of Congress, was summed up by Ta’Sina Sapa Win, of the Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective: “We are running out of time to save our children’s future and our planet, we must act NOW in order to provide a clean and just world for all.”