Happy Birthday Maddy! It’s crazy to think that in just 10 days, it will mark exactly one year since you joined the hub. It’s been such a wild ride this past year. I shared a few of these examples with your mom already, but I want to share them with everyone else so they can see how much you’ve been with us. I hope that by including them, others will see how much of an impact you've left on us.
Maddy at the Santa Monica Pier
We've grown so much and become better organizers, especially when compared to where we were when the year started. In the past 4 months alone, we've done some really cool things. We occupied the sidewalk of a U.S. Senator for 3 days. We occupied the state capitol, singing and chanting. We organized a block party to uplift a community suffering from environmental injustice. And in all of that, you've been with us. From Santa Monica to Montana, your spirit lives on in us, in me, and in all of the things that we do.
Even though I'm writing here a lot about the past, I spent a lot of time today reflecting on the future. Being a young organizer in the climate justice space, it's something that you'd think I'd do a lot more of given it's the very thing I'm organizing for. Being worried about the future of the planet would seem like a given. Interestingly enough, however, it's not necessarily the future of the planet that comes to mind when I take the time to think about the future. What I really think about is you, Maddy - you and the rest of the Sunrise family.
Maddy down in Wilmington, a neighborhood in LA
Sunrise is going through a big transition. A big part of that transition is thinking a lot more about community - what it means to organize in our communities and what it means to be in community with those you organize with. I'm not sure if its because of the nature of today or the holiday season, but as I thought about community today, I grieved. I felt a sense of loss for the community that was devastated by this pandemic and a sense of longing for its return. I want to build a greater sense of community among organizers in our hub, but there are so many barriers that always seem to get in the way of doing it. From LA's own highly segregated geography, to access to financial resources, to jobs, school, and family life. It's almost like the world is conspiring against our ability to be together as an organizing family while we fight for our very futures.
Sunday ritual in Montana
Of course, being a human being means we are complicated and can hold multiple, seemingly contradictory feelings at once. I am no different. At the same time as I feel sadness because of the difficult barriers we've faced in building community, I feel an abiding hope that wells up within me whenever my mind happens upon us. Whenever I look back on the people I've met, the people I organize with, and the people I call friends, I can't help but smile. I'm always so grateful for the time I got to spend with them, and I'm always looking for ways to be able to be with them more. Today, it made me think about when you first joined the hub, Maddy. I wish I could’ve known you more. Like others, I want more time. I think that's a big part of what inspires me to fight for more time with others.
The message Maddy sent in our Slack when first joining us
We have a lot of work to do in order to build that stronger sense of community. I want everyone to know we have each other's backs, no matter where we may go. As we enter this new period as a hub, continuing our journey to affect change and make a difference, I hope we strengthen our bonds so that we can have an organizing family you & all Sunrise members - past, present, and future - can be proud of.