Tired-eyed and full of prowess, activists stood outside the gates of Maryland Governor Hogan’s mansion, shouting and beating a drum, demanding that he wake up, turn his lights on, and lead Maryland out of a pandemic and storm of injustices.
The Sunrise Baltimore hub organized this action in Annapolis, MD on Friday, August 14th, at 4:30 am. Sunrise is a movement focused on building an army of young people to stop climate change, create millions of good jobs, and stand up against injustices. This action was a part of a nationwide Sunrise Movement set of actions to hold all public servants accountable.
“We’re wide awake to the scale of these problems, and the governor and the state legislature need to wake up too,” said Sunrise Outreach Team co-leader Laís Ramirez Santoro.
Speakers at the event spoke on their personal experiences as Maryland residents, educators, and students and shared instances of negligence on the part of elected officials.
One speaker pointed out that amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Hogan has allegedly been spending his time crafting a propagandized book about leading, instead of taking on the responsibilities of leadership through action. The Maryland legislature has been out of session since March 16, 2020; taking a recess in lieu of passing laws, garnering relief for civilians, and responding to racial injustice.
“Mitch McConnell is on vacation. Chuck Schumer is going on his vacation.” said Greg Wilson, the Actions Team Lead of the Baltimore Sunrise Movement, “It is not just Republicans who have failed us. It is not just Republicans who are asleep,” he said, addressing the Governor, asleep in his mansion.
The event was attended by masked and socially distanced young people and adults, many of whom voiced their concerns from the position of educators in the Maryland school systems. One motivation for doing so is the demand for equal protection for public and private schools from the deadly COVID-19 virus.
“Sunrise hubs across the country are staging Wide Awake demonstrations to get the protection and support our politicians should provide,” the Sunrise Baltimore Movement wrote in their Press Release for this event. Organizers of the event continued to write out their demands in the Press Release addressing the need for holding police officers accountable for their actions, halting evictions so unemployed people are not being put on the streets, and sending every Marylander a mail-in ballot now, ensuring safe and accessible voting for all.
Protections for tenants were initially offered in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Section 4024(b), which prohibited landlords from evicting or charging tenants for the nonpayment of rent. These protections ended on July 25, 2020. Landlords were additionally required to provide 30-days notice before tenants must vacate the property.
As of Aug. 23, 2020, tenants unable to pay their rent due to unemployment or other COVID-19 induced complications were legally evicted from their homes amidst a global pandemic that has only been worsening in the United States since the original relief was initiated, and never renewed.
The McDaniel Sunrise Movement stood in unity with the Baltimore Sunrise Movement at the event, attending in alignment with the Center for Disease Control COVID-19 safety protocols.
“No justice, no sleep,” the attendees chanted, because even in the darkness of 5 a.m., they were wide awake.