This week on All Ears, Abby talks to Varshini Prakash, who co-founded the Sunrise Movement, a youth-centered activist organization created in 2017 to end climate change. Sunrise has mobilized two incredibly valuable resources for grassroots organizing: young people and the internet. As the 27 year-old Executive Director of Sunrise, Varshini talks to Abby about how she fell into organizing, and the event that put Sunrise on the map: a 2018 sit-in in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office that became a global sensation (they were joined by new-and-not-yet-sworn-in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). As a result of the viral event, Sunrise’s visibility ballooned, and in 6 months they grew from 20 local chapters nationally, to over 350. Varshini talks about the challenging task of converting energy and ideals into concrete policy wins, and how two years as a thorn in the side of the Democratic Party earned her a seat at the table in the halls of power. Also, Abby reflects on how Sunrise has overcome some of the miscalculations of past environmental movements and offers Varshini some unsolicited advice from a surprising source. This is our last episode of Season 2! We’ll be back in a couple of months. In the meantime, we’d love to hear listener ideas for future guests. Please email us at email@example.com
Executive Director and co-founder
Varshini Prakash is the Executive Director and co-founder of Sunrise, a movement of young people working to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process through the Green New Deal. Varshini has been a leading voice for young Americans, including when she helped lead a mass demonstration for the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that went viral and put the climate crisis at the top of the political agenda for the 2020 elections. Varshini’s work has been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, The New Yorker, BBC, The Washington Post and more. In 2019, she was named to Forbes 30 under 30 list for law and policy, and TIME 100 Next, a new list of rising stars who are shaping politics, popular culture, science, and more. Varshini currently lives in Boston, MA.