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Partnership Principles

A primer on how we approach Sunrise Principle 10

10. We stand with other movements for change.
Stopping climate change requires winning and holding power at every level of government. This is a huge job and we can’t do it alone. When it makes sense, we work with other movements who share our values and are also working to win political power.

Sunrise’s role has two critical components. We bring new young people into the movement in order to build towards a movement of millions. And we act as moral disruptors through visible mass protest that speaks truth to power and envisions a better world.

Other groups play other critical roles, like leading on local/state/federal policy development, convening coalitions, and organizing groups of people who we can’t reach. We need them to play these roles in order for us to win, and vice versa.

When we try to do it all, we end up stretching ourselves too thin. Even when there is an apparent gap to fill, we resist taking on duties that would lead us outside our ideal role. In particular, leading on policy development and convening coalitions are better left to other groups, because doing this work would end up making it difficult for us to fulfill the role of moral disruptors.

We acknowledge and respect past and present organizing—by civil rights, labor, environmental justice activists and more–that disrupts the status quo and addresses the roots of the climate crisis and economic inequality. If we don’t already know about community organizing efforts in the places we live, we learn about them.

We believe in the liberation of all people and support struggles to end racism, sexism, economic inequality, and all oppression, and show up for groups leading these efforts without expecting anything in return.

Black, Indigenous, and people of color, femme and queer folks, workers, the poor and working-class, and people with disabilities experience the effects of the climate crisis first and worst while bearing the least responsibility. Members of these communities, some of whom are youth in our movement, have been leading the fight for climate justice for years, often without sufficient recognition. We listen to frontline leaders’ perspectives, both within and beyond our movement, and follow their lead on place-based struggles.

There are too many wonderful groups out there for us to get to know all of them. We focus our limited time building relationships with groups who are also working at the intersection of people power and political power, and build relationships grounded in common values and shared humanity. We understand elections to be a key moment for this type of collaboration.

We build relationships at the speed of trust, which can be slow. Sometimes, rushing into active collaboration with another group can set back the relationship-building process. We and our allies can continue to take action independently, even as we undertake the process of deepening trust by showing up for each other and getting to know each other

Trust is strengthened when we clearly express the role we are aiming to fulfill and follow through on our commitments. This helps others know when and how we intend to lead, and where we see them leading. It can also support them to give us feedback if we stray from our intended role.

Being a moral disruptor often rocks the boat or involves taking risks that are hard to get multiple organizations to agree to. We listen seriously to feedback, and communicate clearly and early about our plans with trusted allies when it may impact their work, but we don’t assume that all of our work will involve collaboration. While some groups will be excited to join us in moral disruption and organizing for political power, others will not be willing or able to do so. We respect their different contributions to the movement ecosystem and remain focused on playing our role well.