The creative director at the left-wing Sunrise Movement claimed Tuesday that he was fired after accusing leadership of ignoring Black members’ demands, generating internal conflict within the group dedicated to youth activism against climate change.
Alex O’Keefe said he was terminated after sending a letter with demands from the “Sunrise Black Caucus” calling on Sunrise Movement to “publicly reckon with the movement-wide crisis we are in [and] dismantle our white, owning-class culture.”
“As a national leader, I’ve seen Sunrise grow from a scrappy movement to a giant nonprofit co-opted by mega donors. Seeking only media relevance [and] proximity to Biden,” O’Keefe wrote on Twitter.
“The letter revealed that Sunrise was losing many Black and working class members. Our Black members made a list of demands, Sunrise leadership failed to honor a single demand and tried to cover up the existence of the demands. Black members’ demands were a ‘threat to our DNA,'” O’Keefe continued.
O’Keefe said the conflict drove him to “suicidal thoughts.”
“It’s hard to say this, but top leadership’s hostility and legal threats drove me to suicidal thoughts. These were friends I built a movement with, who turned against me for sharing truths they didn’t even deny,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I was the first Black leader of Sunrise org. I was the longest tenured Black person in a white-majority org. That alone suggests the hostility that met me. It was a hellish battle to transform white-savior, socialism-averse messaging to the radical vision we sometimes achieved,” O’Keefe wrote.
He also accused the group of abandoning the push for the Green New Deal because of donors.
“Why do these millionaires donate to us? Our spunk? No, there are BILLIONS to be made from the Green Transition. There are South American [and] African countries to pillage for lithium and other resources necessary for Green energy,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash took issue with O’Keefe’s account.
“Alex, I love you and you’ve done incredible work for our movement, but this isn’t what happened. You haven’t shown up for work in months. Multiple friends and colleagues reached out repeatedly to figure out when you were coming back, and you didn’t engage,” she wrote on Twitter.
“In a movement powered by so many volunteers, we take really seriously the responsibility of being a paid staff member. I’m not going to say anything else publicly, but I’m always here if you decide you want to talk,” she added.
Sunrise Movement made headlines in 2020 for protesting outside the homes of Republican politicians and internally slamming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “showing off” her expensive freezers full of premium Jeni’s ice cream during an interview at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic..
The biggest donation to the Sunrise Movement the 2020 election cycle was $500,000 from The Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to Open Secrets. Politico described The Sixteen Thirty Fund as an “unprecedented gusher of secret money” that boosted Democrats and liberal causes.
Conservative-leaning Capital Research Center describes The Sixteen Thirty Fund as “the lobbying shop for the Arabella network,” referring to Arabella Advisors, a network of liberal nonprofits run by former Clinton administration appointee Eric Kessler.
The Sixteen Thirty Fund pushed back on its description as a “lobbying shop” for Arabella, adding that it is “committed to following the current laws to level the playing field for progressives in this election,” in a statement to Fox News.
Fox News’ inquiry to Sunrise Movement was not returned at the time of publication.