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Mar 062009
 

Name: David Dix
Title: National Green Director for League of Young Voters, Pennsylvania Organizer for 1Sky, Green for All Fellow
Current city: Philadelphia
Green background/job description: Trained with Van Jones as part of Green for All fellowship program; Brought on by 1Sky based out of Washington, D.C. to lobby congressional targets in Pennsylvania; Works with League of Young Voters to recruit members, build unions with businesses, and educate people to work actively with the movement and seek green jobs. Dix played a key role in bringing 200 people to PowerShift from mostly urban areas in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maine, Ohio and Florida.

Describe your most memorable PowerShift ’09 moment:
The moment that is most memorable to me would be on lobby day. We brought a lot of folks from Philadelphia that had previously been disengaged from the movement. We brought groups from public housing high rises, kids from very urban areas, and we have been working to educate them on the issues in preparation for lobby day. And it was great to see those people who are usually pushed aside from the green movement there and engaged and involved in lobbying their congressmen. It was very inspiring.

What impact did PowerShift 09 make?
PowerShift was really important for someone like me, with a more political background and not necessarily green background, to work with people who have seen this movement grow. One gentleman that I met who has been working on this movement for some time was almost at the brink of tears when seeing 12,000 people gather in D.C. He said that 10 years ago he couldn’t even get 100 people around this issue. And I think there is no more powerful view for congress to see than thousands of young people who are engaged and educated on the issue. It left a powerful impression on those members of congress that will last for a long time to come.

What action do you expect to now take place or what would you most like to see happen?
I don’t want us to lose this momentum. Most of us are planning on having similar lobby days but in our district offices during recess in April. We want to do that same work back home with our respective representatives.

We have to make sure the stimulus dollars set aside for green are spent well and that we really get the bang for our buck that we hoped to. I’m concerned in some ways that if we don’t harness these resources offered to us in the stimulus, we might not have another opportunity to do this again. We have to harness this momentum and make sure we spend the stimulus money appropriately and work toward a climate bill.

Name: Laura Comer
Title: Student Organizer from Hofstra University
Current city: Hempstead, NY
Green background/job description: Comer serves as a trainer for environmental organizations at Hofstra University to help them improve strategy and campaign planning, and as liaison between the EAC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the networks on her campus.

Describe your most memorable PowerShift ’09 moment:
At the end of Friday night, after the speakers were done and the entertainment performed, everyone started pouring down the stairs out of the building. But the night was not over. There was still so much energy and suddenly everyone started chanting “Powershift.” It was a celebration of everyone being there. We were celebrating one another and all of us just being there together. There wasn’t a big speaker on stage at the moment or some big name to clap for. They were just clapping for us and for the conference itself.

What impact did PowerShift ’09 make?
My focus was on lobby day and I know that we made a huge impact. It was the biggest lobby day in history. Since Powershift ended, I’ve been getting e-mail follow-ups from people asking questions or making comments about the leadership of the event. And I know that people lobbying were interested in scheduling district meetings [to keep in touch with their legislators after the conference]. We left an impact on those schedulers. They were especially impressed to see us come out despite all the snow. The morning of lobby day, we got calls at 6 a.m. confirming that they [Congress members and staff] would be there if we were there. We were there, and the students showed up because we knew how it important it was to overcome any obstacle in our way.

What action do you expect to now take place or what would you most like to see happen?
Our lobby day goal was to get climate legislation passed this year, and I feel that between the students showing up now and following through in district meetings and just keeping things moving on the ground, we will get those principles passed. We’re going to be successful. As long as we can maintain the feeling and excitement of PowerShift until the Copenhagen agreement, then the U.S. will take a strong role in determining international climate agreements.

Name: Praveen Dayananda
Title: Field Organizer with the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus
Ecology Program (that is part of the EAC)
Current city: Austin
Green background/job description: Supporting students in Texas to make Texas a clean energy and climate leader. Also supporting colleges and universities to lead the way to a sustainable future.

Describe your most memorable PowerShift 09 moment:
There were so many memorable moments, but I guess the big ones were building a statewide strategy with 160 diverse youth from all across Texas and having 50 diverse youth from all across the state (from about 12 colleges) meeting with [Texas] Senator Cornyn’s and [Texas] Senator Hutchison’s (TX) staff and demanding support for the strongest possible climate and clean energy legislation in 2009. Senator Cornyn’s staff person remarked that this was largest group to have asked Senator Cornyn for climate protection and investment in the green economy. He said the Senator would do well to brush up on his understanding of climate change since such a diverse group of his constituents were looking for bold climate action.

What impact did PowerShift 09 make?
We have once again raised the bar for what we expect the elected officials in this country to do around re-energizing the economy and protecting our future. Several thousand of us took a message of the need for immediate climate solutions and I think we have increased several-fold the likelihood of getting a strong climate bill in the US this year. Power Shift ’09 also showed that the youth that elected a president and a new Congress, instead of waiting another four years to make their mark, are now stepping up to rebuild our economy and reclaim our future.

What action do you expect to now take place or what would you most like to see happen?
Power Shift 09 campaign will run through the rest of the year to ensure that we have a strong climate bill in the US and a strong international climate treaty in Copenhagen. We will build on the relationships with elected officials that we established or strengthened this past week. And, we will ensure that our elected officials do what is scientifically-necessary and economically-necessary, not just what is politically-feasible, to safeguard our future.

Name: Juan Martinez
Title: Sierra Club: Volunteer Youth Coordinator and Children & Nature Network: Natural Leaders Coordinator (www.childrenandnature.org)
Current city: Los Angeles
Green background/job description: I work with programs that get youth outside into nature. From that connection I believe they get a global vision and things like global warming, green jobs, conservation, make more sense. I’ve worked with Sierra Club, Sierra Student Coalition, National Hispanic Environmental Council, and Children and Nature Network.

What was the most memorable moment for you at PowerShift 09? It is hard to pick one memorable moment. Introducing Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to more than 10,000 of my peers was a great moment, but I feel that connecting with youth across the nation through the overall issues of finding global warming solutions, green jobs, and outdoor environmental education was overall the most memorable part of PowerShift.

What impact do you think the event had?
It was one of the largest gatherings of our generation. This was a time where we collectively stood up and said: We want our political system to respond to the urgency of this challenge. We want the United States to be a leading nation in solving humanity’s biggest challenge. We want green jobs, and we are here because we cannot wait anymore.

What action do you expect to now take place or what would you most like to see happen?
I would like to see the Clean Energy Corps get on a fast track to achieving its goals. I want to see my community members getting some of those green jobs. I will continue to take youth outdoors because there is a need for this generation to connect with the natural world and have free play. My philosophy is no child left inside.

(Photo credits: Youth gathering at summit, PowerShift09; Tar Sands protesters, Zoe Caron.)

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