by Marissa Saenger
On Wednesday evening last week, we — youth climate activists with the Sunrise Movement, our allies, and members of the Bay Area community — lined up outside of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco office to demand that all people living in the United States of America have access to employment through a federal jobs guarantee.
Our Good Jobs for All Pledge asks Speaker Pelosi to commit to doing everything in her power to pass legislation that invests $10 trillion over the next decade to create millions of union jobs addressing the compounding crises of climate change, economic inequality, and systemic racism, and puts money into the hands of people and communities, rather than the wealthy few.
Our communities are struggling, and we need jobs to survive. Our nation must be transformed in order to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis from devastating our lives and our economy. And we, the people, are ready to get to work.
We are eager to get to work transforming our energy grid with renewables, designing efficient and accessible public transportation systems, growing food locally and sustainably, restoring public infrastructure, parks, and natural spaces, expanding public education and arts programs, training young people to enter the workforce, responding to inevitable climate disasters with resilient support systems and adaptation, constructing energy-efficient affordable housing, providing health care and safety support, pursuing education, serving our communities, and so much more.
Our Movement mobilized the youth vote on behalf of President Biden in last year’s general election and deserves credit for the expanded scale of Biden’s climate action relative to the moderate promises made in his early campaign days. Sunrise activists know the scale of the climate crisis requires more investment in jobs for solutions than were proposed in Biden’s newly released infrastructure bill, and we are urgently demanding far greater ambition.
In this moment, as we continue to reel from the crises looming over our nation, it is clear that our current economy is not working. No one in the richest country in the world should be struggling to get by due to unemployment, and even the richest country in the world cannot afford to stall any longer on climate action or addressing inequality. We can create an economy that allows everyone and our planet to thrive, and it starts with a federal jobs guarantee.
The people of the United States are counting on Congress to deliver on this urgent and widely popular demand. We are ready to work to uplift our communities and our country. Are our representatives ready to work to make that possible?
The clock is ticking, the world is watching, and our movement is ready to keep pressuring politicians to act with the urgency our current reality demands.