Over the past several months we have seen an unprecedented escalation in our movements for climate justice. On September 20, millions of young people all over the world skipped school to join one of the largest youth-led protests in history. Then on September 23rd, we shut down traffic into the nation’s capital during the morning rush hour. Days later our friends in San Francisco followed suit by shutting down Wall Street West and literally painting the town for climate justice. Then last week, in New York, London and all over the globe Extinction Rebellion took dramatic action as part of their week-long global rebellion.
But still, Congress, the oil companies and the big banks have not changed their ways. They remain hell-bent on destroying the planet. One Republican Congressman even said he planned on introducing legislation that would require us to pay the police to arrest us (spoiler alert, we’d never pay!).
The climate crisis is unfolding at an alarming rate. But the rich and powerful interests that control our economy and our political processes have pushed our institutions as far as they’ve ever been from taking meaningful action to address this urgent challenge. We don’t have much time left, so we need to build an even stronger and more powerful movement to take on this essential challenge.
Before the blockades even came down on September 23rd many of us started asking “what’s next?!” We know that #ShutDownDC came together in an incredibly short timeframe–just four weeks from the public kickoff to the action. On October 10th we got together to start that conversation and more than 75 people joined at St. Stephens Church.
We started by mapping out our goals, and we quickly saw five clear themes. People said they want to
Maintain the momentum and keep actions going forward
Build deep and accountable relationships with a diverse set of communities–particularly the communities who are on the front lines of the climate crisis
Build skills and durable organization
Grow our movement and engage new people
Fight for and win policies that will disrupt the climate crisis
Taking a step back to think through how we can make all of that happen, we can imagine a path forward where we work with our affinity groups and individual organizations to develop deep relationships with the diverse communities that we want to be in solidarity with and organize smaller (but still powerful!) actions to confront the climate crisis. At the same time we can look ahead towards building a larger, more disruptive, and more sustained disruption in March or April of 2020.
Check out the discussion paper on #ShutDownDC: What Comes Next for some more details on this possible path forward.
To get all this work done, we broke into four working groups to start planning and start to move some next steps.