From February 13th to February 17th, five Sequoyah students from the Sunrise Sequoyah hub visited Washington, D.C., for Sunrise’s middle and high school student summit. The Sunrise Movement is a youth led movement fighting to stop climate change and create millions of jobs in the process. In hopes of planning the biggest Earth Day celebration ever, Sunrise wanted to make sure that the youth were prepared to lead events around the country.
Junior Audrey Bluestone was one of the five Sequoyah students who went to the summit. Bluestone said that during the summit, the students “would listen to lectures or go to workshops.” She also noted that they “learned how to make measurable change in the future” by being “taught the tools on how to create better and more effective escalated actions.”
Rather than just being told how to lead an escalated action, the students also participated in one during their trip. Another 11th grader, Julian Suh-toma, explained that on the last day of the summit, Sunrise “decided to storm the Capitol building.” Current senior Ozzy Simpson added to that and explained that during the action they “sneakily entered the building, covering our Sunrise shirts and any signs or banners” they were to use during the action. Once they got in, they “sang, gave speeches, and dropped a large banner over the railings.” Simpson also noted that some of the “students were arrested, but only ones that planned to be arrested beforehand.”
Claire Donahue, who is also a junior, was “expecting it to be a little bit more adult-led,” but was glad to see that “a lot of the leaders and facilitators of the training were 18 and 19.” This reassured Donahue that “we can make a change even though we are so young.” Senior Selina Yang echoed that, saying: “we are high schoolers, but we could be way more than that. We have the power to pressure our senators and representatives to do their jobs.” Her advice to students that didn’t get to go is to “think on the federal level, and trust that Sunrise will give you all the support you need to make that happen.”
While the purpose of the summit was to prepare students for record-setting escalated actions on Earth Day, Sequoyah students would not divulge any information on their next steps or actions in LA, besides confirming that there will be “an escalated action.”