Photo taken by Courtney McKinneyThere is now an empty seat in the Senate due to Kamala Harris being America’s Vice President Elect. California Governor Gavin Newsom will be the one to appoint her replacement.

Sunrise Sacramento, a hub of the climate justice organization Sunrise Movement, protested outside of Senator Harris’ district office at 501 I St on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1pm. 

Youth-led climate justice organizers gathered to call on Gov. Newsom to pick a progressive replacement for Senator Kamala Harris that will represent CA’s needs. 

Sunrise Sacramento highlighted, “Youth activists played a key role in flipping swing states during the presidential election, and there’s no doubt that our mobilization put the Democratic party back in the White House. Now, Governor Newsom gets to appoint a new Senator for CA thanks to our movement.”

Sacramento Sunrise main speaker, Maddie Cole, used her time to stress that “Newsom needs to appoint someone who will carry progressive policies into the Senate. At the very minimum, that means someone who supports medicare for all and the Green New Deal as VP-elect Harris does. Anything less is a step backward and an insult to the base of the Democratic Party.”

Cole states, “We saw a record voter turnout of young people, especially youth of color, and since we are a big reason this seat is empty… [Harris’] replacement must mirror what the people voted for- this is not Newsom’s chance to choose a crony.” 

Courtney McKinney was in charge of connecting Sunrise Movement hubs all across CA to call on Gov. Newsom. McKinney reflects, “It was so inspiring… it all happened so quickly, but with so much thoughtfulness and genuine love in this movement that isn’t around many others.”

McKinney emphasized the importance of having multiple California Sunrise hubs being involved. “This is a California issue, as big as this state is, we only get two senators to represent us.”Photo taken by Courtney McKinney

Cole and McKinney were both asked what their ideal appointee would consist of.

Cole states, “Gen Z needs someone that supports the Green New Deal for sure, climate change is directly going to affect our lives. Gen Z needs a Senator who will fight to get rid of the ever-growing wealth gap. This pandemic has definitely shown those in the top 1% profiting off the pandemic as thousands lose their jobs.”Photo taken by Courtney McKinney

McKinney states, “Honestly, someone who cares. We need someone who is a champion, they will go in and fight for us. We can’t have someone who will go to Washington and not fight. We don’t have time for that. We really don’t.”

To emphasize the importance of Gov. Newsom’s Senate appointee, McKinney mentions the saying, “So goes California, so goes the nation.” McKinney elaborates, “[California] has the highest rate of poverty in the country, we’re leading in all of these poor environmental outcomes… is that the legacy that we want?”