Juniors start Sunrise Movement chapter in middle of dark times

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By Abbie Preston, Staff Reporter In May 2020, during the midst of the global pandemic, juniors Lilly Shui and Aishi Debroy started The Sunrise Movement Berwyn. The Sunrise Movement is a national organization that fights for an urgency for climate change. Sunrise Berwyn is a local branch of this national movement. Their mission is to...

By Abbie Preston, Staff Reporter

In May 2020, during the midst of the global pandemic, juniors Lilly Shui and Aishi Debroy started The Sunrise Movement Berwyn. The Sunrise Movement is a national organization that fights for an urgency for climate change. Sunrise Berwyn is a local branch of this national movement. Their mission is to elect leaders into office that stand with the Green New Deal, an elaborate congressional plan to resolve climate change.

According to Shui, Sunrise Berwyn is different from other environmental clubs.

“Sunrise is different because not only are we focused on issues in our area, but also climate change on a national level. We are just one hub of many and we all work together to achieve our goals,” Shui said.

In Sunrise Berwyn, each member is assigned to a specific category, where they complete specific tasks in a certain department. Each of these categories are led by one person who oversees the activities of all people in the department. For example, Shui is the core trainer. They meet with new members of the club and evaluates what their interests are. They give them a job that best fits their interests. Some other jobs include core recruitment, core communications, core finance organizer and hub coordinator. 

At this time Sunrise Berwyn is focused on electing leaders into the legislature that support the Green New Deal and other environmentally friendly legislation. They are currently helping State Representative Danielle Friel Otten win re-election by hosting and attending phone banks in the area. Phone banking is a method of reaching out to voters through the phone and making sure that they have all the resources that they need.

The Electoral Lead for Sunrise Berwyn, junior Clara Steege, is the main coordinator of phone banking events and works with Pennsylvania representatives. Steege explains what it’s like to phone bank.

“It can be frustrating sometimes when there are people who don’t share the same beliefs that I do, or in my opinion are ignoring things that I see to be very big problems, or may be rude to people that are calling them; but there are people who are very kind and willing to help out. Those people definitely make up for it,” Steege said.

Sunrise Berwyn is mainly composed of high school students. Shui recognizes that it is important for youth to be involved in climate change.

“It’s important for young people to be involved because we must fight for our future. Climate change is real and a serious issue and if we don’t act now, the effects will become irreversible. We have a voice and we should use it to fight for our futures,” Shui said.

Another significant part of the Sunrise Movement is social media. As Core Communications leader, senior Willow Freeman posts infographics on various social media websites such as Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook. According to Freeman, social media is an important resource for Sunrise.

“It is so important to have social media cover what we are doing because it allows a global audience to see our mission. If there was no social media, tons of people would not be able to see the importance and urgency of climate change,” Freeman said.

Steege explains why taking charge through Sunrise Berwyn  is important to her.

“We have a responsibility to act for our own futures and for other young people who might be slightly more marginalized than us. We have so many privileges and we should use those to speak up for those who can’t,” Steege said.

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