November 9, 2021
Presented by Varshini Prakash, executive director and co-founder of Sunrise Movement.
Varshini Prakash, executive director and co-founder of Sunrise Movement, a grassroots organization of young people working to stop climate change and create good-paying jobs in the process, is the 2021 Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism. The $100,000 prize is given annually to an individual or organization making a defining difference and advancing responsible action on behalf of the planet, its people and resources.
Prakash and a handful of like-minded activists launched Sunrise Movement in the summer of 2017. Focusing on growth through grassroots organizing and political action with candidate endorsements, the group gained recognition and support after it organized a sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Washington, D.C., office in 2018 with backing from U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Now one of the largest youth movements in the country, Sunrise is leading the charge for the Green New Deal, a constellation of public policy proposals to address climate change while creating jobs and reducing economic inequality.
Prakash has used her growing public profile to tirelessly advocate for Sunrise’s principles. Her work has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, MSNBC and many other outlets. She is the daughter of immigrants from India, and Prakash said the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the first moments that pushed her toward getting involved in climate action. Prakash was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for law and policy and the TIME 100 Next, a list of rising stars shaping politics, popular culture, science and more. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and will share her knowledge with Dickinsonians as part of her campus residency.