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Sunrise Providence announces counter-fundraiser to Speaker Mattiello after Speaker’s comments rejecting climate action

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On one side, we have long-time politicians like Speaker Mattiello who are determined to maintain the status quo,” said Rachael Baker, an organizer from Sunrise Providence, “On the other side, we have a broad coalition of citizens and activists who know that business as usual spells disaster for our livelihoods and threatens our homes and our lives. We need climate action now. To not pick a side is to maintain the status quo. To our elected officials, to our community leaders, to all Rhode Islanders, I ask you: which side are you on?


Sunrise Providence, the youth-led movement organizing for climate justice and a Green New Deal in Providence and Rhode Island, has announced Sunrise After Sunset, an evening to benefit Sunrise Providence’s campaign to win a Green New Deal for Rhode Island in 2020.

Sunrise After Sunset will be held from 7-9:30pm on Thursday, January 30th at Rhode Island Spirits, 59 Blackstone Ave, Pawtucket RI 02860. Food will be provided by Plant City. All friends of Sunrise Providence and all proponents of climate action are welcome to attend. Supporters can RSVP or donate here and see the Facebook event here.

All money raised during Sunrise After Sunset will fund the organizing Sunrise Providence activists are doing for climate justice, specifically to win a Green New Deal for Providence, for Rhode Island, and for the United States in 2020.

“I invite all Rhode Islanders who believe we must act swiftly to defeat the climate crisis to join Sunrise Providence at Sunrise After Sunset,” said Michael Kearney, an organizer with Sunrise Providence and one of the coordinators of the event. “Our guests will have the opportunity to hear from Sunrise activists on the ground in Rhode Island, meet other supporters of climate action in the state, become part of the movement to stop climate change, and hear about Sunrise’s plans to win a Green New Deal in 2020 – all while sipping a local craft cocktail from Rhode Island Spirits and munching on vegan food from Plant City! It’s going to be a fantastic evening.”

Sunrise After Sunset coincides with the fundraiser of Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who said on January 16th that “there is nothing Rhode Island can do to address climate change in a way that’s real or impactful … All you can do is harm your economy and not improve your climate.”


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“The climate crisis is a moral issue, and the time has come to choose a side,” said Rachael Baker, an organizer from Sunrise Providence, in response to the Speaker’s comments. “On one side, we have long-time politicians like Speaker Mattiello who are determined to maintain the status quo. On the other side, we have a broad coalition of citizens and activists who know that business as usual spells disaster for our livelihoods and threatens our homes and our lives. We need climate action now. To not pick a side is to maintain the status quo. To our elected officials, to our community leaders, to all Rhode Islanders, I ask you: which side are you on?”

“I was extremely disappointed to hear one of the men shaping Rhode Island’s legislative agenda take a stance against climate action that is so factually inaccurate,” said Emma Bouton, another organizer with Sunrise Providence. “Speaker Mattiello is flat out wrong. Rhode Island can do much more to address the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, green jobs at the same time with a Green New Deal. Already, there are 16,000 clean energy jobs in our state, and employment in that sector has grown by 74 percent since 2014.”

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo seemed to agree, calling the Speaker and his comments “factually wrong, scientifically wrong, economically wrong, and morally wrong.”

In 2019, Sunrise Providence focused on building a statewide movement by growing from one hub in Providence to five all over the state, hiring seven full-time summer fellows to coordinate hundreds of volunteers, hosting the Northeast Regional Sunrise Summit where over 500 new climate leaders were trained, and bringing together thousands of people to strike multiple times for climate action.

In 2020, Sunrise Providence will turn that momentum into real change by placing bold climate action at the top of Rhode Island’s political agenda and make the Green New Deal a reality. Sunrise Providence will ramp up its efforts all over Rhode Island, bring thousands more people into the streets for the Earth Day Climate Strike, hire more Summer Fellows to train new organizers, register young Rhode Islanders to vote, educate voters about the Green New Deal, and turn up the pressure as election season rolls around.

Sunrise After Sunset is a crucial part of those plans as Sunrise Providence gathers the base of supporters and funding necessary to power our organizing plan to win a Green New Deal.

To learn more about Sunrise Providence, please visit ri.sunrisemovement.org.