Activists from the Sunrise Movement made some noise Thursday during the first day of the Democratic National Committee's Summer Meeting in downtown San Francisco. They disrupted a meeting of the DNC's Resolutions Committee which voted down a proposal to have one of the upcoming 12 pre-primary debates be focused on climate change.
As ABC 7 reports, the activists occupied a meeting room at the Hilton San Francisco near Union Square where the committee was gathered, and brought the meeting to a halt with shouts, chants, and songs — specifically the union song “Which Side Are You On?”
From the DNC's perspective, voters care about many issues in addition to climate change, and devoting an entire debate to one issue means potentially having to devote other debates entirely to other issues.
Committee member Symone Sanders, who's also an advisor to Joe Biden, tells the Mercury-News that changing the debate rules this late in the game is "dangerous territory in the middle of a Democratic primary process."
From Sunrise's perspective, no other single issue is going to have as great and widespread an impact in the coming decades, and they want to hear the candidates take deeper dives into the topic. Almost all the candidates have signed on to the idea, as well, and Sunrise thinks the time is now.
As Sunrise organizer and spokesperson Muriel MacDonald tells ABC 7, "We're really not asking for a single-topic debate, we're asking to talk about everything within the frame of the climate crisis."
The committee voted down the proposed debate 17-8, as the Mercury News reports, and Sunrise member Kristy Mualim, 23, tells the paper this is "definitely not the end" of their fight to make a climate debate happen. "A lot of the people dismissing the signs of climate change aren’t going to be living long enough to experience the impact of it," she says to the Merc.
The committee did, reportedly, vote to have a candidate "forum" on climate change, but it remains unclear whether such a forum will be allowed under DNC rules.
Sunrise was the focus of a recent episode of the New York Times' new television show on FX, which examined how the group's activism has successfully pushed the Democratic to the left on the issue of climate change in particular.