Newly-elected congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 200 people in a protest outside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office. Tuesday was the first day of new-member orientation at the House, and instead of spending it learning the ropes, she joined a group of mostly young people mobilizing to fight for green jobs and to address climate change, according to USA Today.
Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and she has her ear finely tuned to the things that today’s youth want. The 29-year-old said that she wanted Pelosi to know that young Americans are “here to back her up in pushing for 100 percent renewable energy.”
The protest, organized by Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, involved people carrying “Green Jobs for All” signs and calling for the U.S. government to address climate change. Protesters say that they believe that climate science is settled and instead of debate, it is time for action. The demonstration was spurred by the recent United Nations report that said we have just over a decade to keep global warming within a manageable range.
“We’re here because we’re scared and we’re angry. We don’t believe we need any more education or any more science,” saidSunrise Movement spokesperson Garrett Blad.
Ocasio-Cortez said that she joined the movement not as a representative but as a person who is concerned about climate change.
“I don’t want to see Miami under water,” she said. “I don’t want to see my district under water. And I know that Leader Pelosi doesn’t either.”
The incoming representative also said that she admires Pelosi and believes that the house minority leader will appreciate the passion and civic engagement of the protesters.
This morning 100s of young people came together to ask us as elected officials to act urgently to draft a Green New Deal that gets us to 100% renewable energy ASAP.
They asked me to join them, and I did. We can embrace the energy of activism to move our party’s goals forward. https://t.co/nsiG9hhcgf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
Pelosi welcomed the protesters, saying that she has asked her caucus to reinstate the dismantled committee whose purpose it is to address climate change.
“We are inspired by the energy and activism of the many young activists and advocates leading the way on the climate crisis, which threatens the health, economic security and futures of all our communities,” Pelosi said.
“We welcome the presence of these activists, and we strongly urge the Capitol Police to allow them to continue to organize and participate in our democracy.”
A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan took the opportunity to have a little fun at Pelosi’s expense after finding out about the protest.
“Huh, well this is unconventional,” AshLee Strong wrote in an email. “The incoming speaker is getting protested by one of her freshman.”