Our Movement for a Strong, Multiracial Democracy Is Winning

After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action.

Michael Brune
Jan 12 · 3 min read
A diverse group of young women hold up signs about climate justice.
A diverse group of young women hold up signs about climate justice.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Weatherbee for The Luupe, the luupe.com

On Wednesday, we learned that Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock had won their Senate races, clinching Democratic control of the House, Senate, and presidency. After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action in the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, President-elect Biden can carry out the big promises he made during his campaign to supercharge our clean energy economy, green our infrastructure, clean up environmental injustices, address racial inequities, repair our democracy, and ensure a just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

These victories in Georgia, and across the country, would not have been possible without years of hard work and organizing by women of color–led grassroots groups like Fair Fight Georgia and the New Georgia Project, as well as the efforts of Sierra Club members and supporters. In the face of voter suppression and racist campaigning, we worked to make sure that the people’s desire for bold, transformational change won out.

But on Wednesday, our well-deserved celebrations were marred by a group of violent, right-wing insurgents who broke into the US Capitol to halt the counting of electoral college votes. As horrifying as it was to watch neo-Nazis and Proud Boys rampage through the Capitol at the direction of the sitting president, I don’t want to dwell on that here. Because our victory in Georgia shows that our movement for a strong, multiracial democracy and racial, economic, environmental, and gender justice is winning. We are the many; they are the desperate few.

With the Senate secure, we have a precious opportunity to make rapid progress on the issues that matter to us and to address the crises our country faces. We can’t afford to squander it. We must ensure that last week’s events are never repeated, and those who directed and encouraged these actions are held accountable. We know that this insurrection was the culmination of decades of racist lies about our fair and free elections. Our lawmakers must shore up the cracks in our democracy by making it easier for Americans to cast their ballots and have their voices heard.

With deaths from COVID-19 reaching new daily records, and economic recovery still far away, our representatives must take rapid action to sustain us through the worst of the pandemic. We need more economic relief, fast, and more money to deliver vaccines, fast. But we also need to address the underlying conditions of racism, economic injustice, and environmental degradation that made this pandemic so deadly.

And we can’t forget that we are in the middle of a climate crisis. We have just a few years left to avert the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change, which means that our representatives have no time to waste. A just and equitable transition to clean energy, an end to fossil fuel subsidies, and protection for our public lands from oil and gas drilling must be day-one priorities for the Biden administration and a newly-empowered Congress.

This is far from an exhaustive list of all the ways our elected officials can — and must — act boldly and immediately to help this country recover from the crises we face, and build back better. We can’t assume that politicians will embrace bold action without sustained pressure from the grassroots. Winning change at the speed and scope we need requires an organized and fiercely determined movement pushing our representatives past the bounds of what’s safe — and toward what our country truly needs to build a better future.

We need you, your skills and talents, and your perspective in that movement. As we saw on Wednesday, this is a moment of enormous peril for our union. But it’s also a moment of enormous opportunity. Click here to find the chapter nearest to you and help build the power we need to protect our democracy, our communities, and our shared home.

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Michael Brune

Written by

Dad, husband, executive director of the @sierraclub, writer, Jersey Shore native, Little League coach, #Yankees fan, climate hawk. Optimist. Love the Bay Area.

The Shadow

We publish inspiring stories about different topics for a productive and entertaining life

Michael Brune

Written by

Dad, husband, executive director of the @sierraclub, writer, Jersey Shore native, Little League coach, #Yankees fan, climate hawk. Optimist. Love the Bay Area.

The Shadow

We publish inspiring stories about different topics for a productive and entertaining life

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