I arrived in Washington, D.C., a bit battered and broken. The daily news twisting itself around my heart, making it hard to breathe. A world dismantling itself before my eyes. Integrity, graciousness, civility slipping like sand. So little left to hold on to.
And then I walked into the ballroom of the Omni Shoreham. And let myself be carried by thirteen hundred bundles of goodness. It was like coming home. To a comfort, an embrace. Like falling into giant arms of love. Person after person greeted me with smiles, hugs and a spirit of hope. My reserves once near empty, started filling up. Ground water hydrating my parched spirit.
Thirteen hundred eager faces. Thirteen hundred stories. People who flew in airplanes, boarded trains, drove hundreds of miles, people who walked from their homes right here in D.C. People who have never been to Washington, people who have never ever met with their member of Congress, people who have spent years and years standing on the sidelines, disengaged, despairing and cynical.
People who, against all odds, made things happen to address climate change. The numbers tell one story. The bi-partisan climate solutions caucus with 42 members. 10,000 new CCL members last month! 39% of our growth has happened in the last six months. But behind all those numbers is the story of you.
Every day you keep on keeping on—in spite of, and because of. Every day you make that hard phone call, schedule that challenging meeting, have that difficult conversation. Every day that your commitment and courage pulls you forward when your fear wants to call it quits.
And because you keep on keeping on, it calms something inside of me. It reminds me that I am not alone. It reminds me that I can do that too. It soothes my heart. It makes me love you. And it makes me love myself.
It’s Sunday night. I’m exhausted. But it’s a good kind of exhausted. I’ve spent the day with 1,300 climate warriors. The ballroom is a sea of gratitude and appreciation. We all are buoyed on the current of one another’s love.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. There is no place in the world that I would rather be than here with you.