FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) – The Frederick Chapter of the Sunrise Movement held a rally in front of Frederick City Hall on Sunday, advocating for climate justice within the county and the Green New Deal.

The youth-led organization partnered with the Hood Environmental Action Team (HEAT) who held their own rally on the Hood College campus. Both groups spoke at the event, speaking out on how climate change is a human rights issue.

“We just want to make sure that [local governments] are working to keep our future safe and to keep us safe,” Sunrise Frederick Political Lead Eirian Wells said.

Wells said young people shouldn’t have to wait to get involved in advocating for climate change policies as they may not have time to grow up.

“It allows us to contribute our voice when we’re young because often people won’t contribute their voice until they’re older and they’ve learned this kind of thing,” Wells said, “So you get a really unique perspective from young people who are often facing very unique challenges.”

HEAT President Jordan Reed-Estes spoke at the rally and said a government can’t address climate change without also acknowledging a need for climate justice.

“Socioeconomics, race, age, and many more factors impact the degree of how much we feel those effects,” Reed-Estes said.

Reed-Estes called on the County’s recently formed climate emergency mobilization work group to create a sub-group devoted to addressing climate justice.

“This designation is imperative to ensure that our communities, our loved ones, our future is one that we can all cherish and admire for the long haul,” Reed-Estes said. “We are only getting started, folks. This is just the beginning of a long journey.”

Wells said the Sunrise movement is currently focused on election-education programs as their goals to address climate change could be affected by the coming election.

During the rally, the Sunrise Movement made endorsements for the upcoming election: Sue Johnson for the Frederick County Board of Education, Jamie Raskin for Congressional District 8, and Joe Biden for president.