Lais Santoro’s Story – Sunrise Movement Baltimore

In late January, I hosted a Green New Deal Launch Party at Johns Hopkins University for the Sunrise Movement.

In the grassroots Sunrise Movement, we fight climate change and support the Green New Deal. This launch party — which gathered people in a small group to watch and discuss two new Sunrise film about what we need to do in 2020 to succeed — was one of 2,625 similar ones across the country.

It made me think about how fast and far I’ve come as a political activist, and that took me back to where I started: a crazy action we undertook outside Nancy Pelosi’s office just two years ago.

I joined 200 other young people on that November day to occupy the office of the Speaker of the House on behalf of the Green New Deal. I’d never been in the Capitol before or missed school for so long.

We sang so loudly outside Pelosi’s office that I felt like Donald Trump could hear me a few miles away. I clapped my hands so hard they hurt. My heart pumped because I felt nervous for my future, and that was a familiar feeling, but also for another reason — because I felt so ALIVE.

I had found a way to act and a movement that excited me.

I had just gotten my first taste of activism in the weeks before, and I wanted more.

We had just elected a progressive candidate to Congress where I’m from, in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, in the 2018 midterm elections. We were fighting a pipeline that would go near the school my siblings attend, and I was fired up to stop it and wanted to keep fighting.

So, of course, I’ve continued to fight — and to support Sunrise. I told all my friends about it, and joined the local Sunrise hub in Baltimore.

I’m now a freshman here at Johns Hopkins University, drowning in readings about sustainability and policy. I’m a coordinator with the Sunrise

Movement Baltimore hub’s actions team, and we’re working on outreach efforts in all parts of the city.

We want to elevate the voices of young people here, and this Medium page is one way to do that.

As we go forward, we’ll be sharing our stories here, because the Sunrise Movement is all about stories. If you have a story about you and climate change to share, you can too. Write it down, send it to us, and we can publish it for you. Or, send us your photo essay, or your short video clip. We want this Medium page to be a platform for frontline communities to be open and vulnerable about anything related to the climate crisis.

My story, from Nancy Pelosi’s office that day, was important and valid and got me started on this path. Your story is important too, so speak up!

Sunrise Baltimore is here to hear you.

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