Youth Activists Who Lectured Dianne Feinstein In 2019 Are Back And Now They Say They Won’t Leave Until She Meets Demands

"It’s sad that I, a 15-year-old, have to be yelling at a nearly 90-year-old senator to do their job."
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks at the confirmation hearing for Xavier Becerra, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images

Youth climate activists with the Sunrise Movement slept outside California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office in Los Angeles on Tuesday night and say they aren’t leaving until she meets their demands.

Sunrise Movement LA describes itself as an organization of “young people fighting for a Green New Deal, a livable future, and good sustainable jobs for all Angelenos.” It is affiliated with other activist groups in the region that organize against law enforcement agencies and advocate for the homeless population.

FOX News reported that the group wants an infrastructure bill making its way through Congress to “include $10 trillion in climate spending over the next 10 years and a government-funded ‘Civilian Climate Corps.’” The Sunrise Movement describes CCC as “a visionary policy that would create a government jobs program putting a new generation of Americans to work combatting the climate crisis.” Organizers are also demanding a meeting with Feinstein, alleging she has “refused to meet with us.”

The activist group accused Feinstein of having a “dismissive attitude” in 2019 after several schoolchildren and parents from the Sunrise Movement showed up at her San Francisco office to confront the senator about her unwillingness to support the Green New Deal. Video of the exchange went viral.

“You know what’s interesting about this group?” Feinstein said at the time. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that.”

While the activists outside of Feinstein’s L.A. office on Tuesday and Wednesday appear to be older than the children who confronted her two years ago, the group’s message has not wavered. The Sunrise L.A. Youth branch claims to be “building an army” of young people to organize locally. They say Feinstein, 88, is complicit in causing climate change and has “enabled fossil fuel corporations to pollute neighborhoods.” Sunrise Movement activists referenced “elderly elected officials” who they say “are allowing young people to spend their youth lobbying those in power to fight for a livable planet.”

“We want green jobs,” said a Sunrise L.A. Youth activist identified as Sara. “Our children, and our children’s children, deserve to live in a world that is clean. A world where they aren’t constantly gasping for breathable air. It’s sad that I, a 15-year-old, have to be yelling at a nearly 90-year-old senator to do their job. We are done waiting around for her to do something.”

Several allied progressives running for elected offices attended the rallies, and others showed support on social media.

According to FOX News, “Sunrise Movement, which is funded in part by a left-wing dark money network called The Sixteen Thirty Fund, is known for its aggressive tactics toward politicians,” and:

Last month, its activists dumped wildfire ashes on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s front porch, in addition to visiting Feinstein’s home, in order to ramp up pressure for its climate demands. 

Also last month, a Sunrise Movement demonstration outside Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s home led to arrests after police said eight protesters trespassed onto Cruz’s property and refused to leave. 

In 2020, the group organized protests at the homes of Republican senators to pressure them against confirming the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement. 

On Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein said that multiple sources have confirmed funding for the Civilian Climate Corps is included in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

“I don’t know the amount/scope,” Stein tweeted.

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