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Sunrise Movement disrupts RI Speaker’s fundraiser

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We are deeply frustrated by Mattiello’s inaction on the climate crisis. By claiming there’s nothing this state can do to affect climate change, Mattiello is not only failing Rhode Island, he’s simply lying,” said Mycala McKay, an organizer with Sunrise Providence.


Tonight, local members of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization working to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process, disrupted a fundraiser for Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello. Activists sought to publicly condemn the Speaker’s recent comments claiming that Rhode Island cannot do anything to address climate change.

Gathering near the exit of the fundraiser, organizers unfurled small banners reading “we deserve a future” and began to sing. As attendees turned to watch the young protesters, 20 year-old Olivia McClain asked the Speaker: “How can you claim that Rhode Island can’t do anything about the climate crisis? Does that have anything to do with the annual contributions you receive from the President and Vice President of National Grid in Rhode Island, both of whom are clearly invested in fueling this crisis?”

Mattiello refused to comment as staff and security guards ushered the activists outside. Once outside, organizers were told by a police officer that the building manager wanted to arrest them for trespassing, but that he would refrain from making arrests if they left the premises immediately. The young people then began to sing and left the event.

“We are deeply frustrated by Mattiello’s inaction on the climate crisis. By claiming there’s nothing this state can do to affect climate change, Mattiello is not only failing Rhode Island, he’s simply lying,” said Mycala McKay, an organizer with Sunrise Providence.

“We clearly have the solutions to address climate change,” continued Emma Bouton, another member of Sunrise Providence. “We just need the political will to implement them. What tonight makes clear to us is that Speaker Mattiello has chosen his wealthy donors – including numerous fossil fuel executives – over our futures.”


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Last month, 14 members of Sunrise Providence were arrested at the State House while calling for Governor Gina Raimondo to pledge to reject money from the fossil fuel industry. The group intends to continue pushing all elected officials to take this pledge and to champion a Green New Deal, a plan to reach 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030 and to create a living-wage job for anyone who needs one.

[From a press release]