Students join the movement to tackle environmental injustices

The Ballard Sunrise Hub hopes to make an impact in attempt to help pass the Green New Deal

Paige Anderson, Editor-in-Chief
Originally published November 16th, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Sheridan GreenClub members at the “Wide Awake Action”

Photo Courtesy of Sheridan Green

Club members at the “Wide Awake Action”

As students begin to find their voice, many come together to fight for what they believe in. The new hub, Ballard Sunrise, is no different. 

The hub’s main goal is to help pass the Green New Deal (GND), a piece of legislation that aims to address climate change, creating millions of jobs in the process. 

The hub officially started last spring after a member of the Sunrise Movement and a student at the Northwest School, Emma Coopersmith, reached out to students in the community asking if they were interested in starting their own branch. 

The Sunrise Movement has launched a five-step plan to win the GND, and the hub is currently on the fourth step: winning governing power to support the GND. A few aspects of this include registering youth voters, engaging in moral protest and phone banking for Sunrise endorsed candidates. 

The previous steps included building the movement, making climate change matter in the midterm elections and making the entire country feel the urgency of the climate crisis and make the Green New Deal a top priority solution.

In terms of next steps for the hub, members hope to advance GND legislation in local governments by continuing to email, call and show up to politicians’ houses until they make a change.

Science teacher Samantha Maykut is the advisor of the club. Being the AP Environmental Science teacher, many of the Sunrise members have taken Maykut’s class, and it only seemed logical to have her fill the position as the hub fights for environmental justice. 

“I just feel privileged to be allowed to support and participate with the amazing group of human beings that are taking on the biggest crisis our world is right now facing,” Maykut said in an email interview. “Seeing these strong, young adults speaking their truth, finding solutions, being in action and supporting each other, gives me hope for our future like nothing else.”  

The club’s leadership board consists of senior Hub Coordinator, Cameron Donnelly; Communications Lead, Maria Ordal; Actions Lead, Sheridan Green; and Recruitment Lead, Gavin Bradler. 

Donnelly was one of the original students Coopersmith reached out to. Passionate about sustainability and conservation, Donnelly was intrigued by the invitation and registered Ballard as an official, new hub. 

“Climate change will impact everyone, even if they don’t believe it exists,” Donnelly said in an email interview. “We want everyone to have a say in their future, especially those underrepresented in climate change discussions.”

Photo Courtesy of Sheridan GreenClub members at the “Wide Awake Action”

Photo Courtesy of Sheridan Green

Club members at the “Wide Awake Action”

The hub is currently meeting virtually over Zoom on the first of every Friday of every month.  The calls usually address whatever project the hub is focusing on at the time. 

“The substance of meetings varies a lot based on what we’re working on,” Ordal said in an online interview. “Right now, we are in the process of planning a ‘Wide Awake’ action, in which we will do our best to ‘wake-up’ Frank Chopp of WA-43, literally and figuratively, early in the morning to encourage him to support the Green New Deal.” 

Frank Chopp is a Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 43rd district. His district covers the neighborhoods of Fremont, Wallingford, the University District and Madison Park. 

“Sunrise is demanding a future that we need and deserve, not the future our political leaders think they can negotiate for,” Donnelly said. “When we say we are ‘literally and figuratively’ waking up Frank Chopp, we mean that we will show up at his house, bring awareness to climate and racial crises, and demand he makes a change.” 

The hub will be marching to Chopp’s house at 6 a.m. on Oct. 28. “Chopp has been in office for 25 years with progressive claims, yet there is little progress to show for it. We will wake him up,” Donnelley said. 

The hub is always looking for new members so if you are interested in joining, their Instagram page consists of all the necessary information (@sunriseballardhs) to fight against environmental injustice.