Women's Activism NYC

Rhiana Gunn-Wright

1988 - Today

By: Harley Enyonam | Date Added:

Rhiana Gunn-Wright was born in 1988 and grew up on the South side of Chicago in Englewood a area in Chicago where residents are more likely to suffer from asthma because of their proximity to pollution. Wright was raised by her mother and grandmother. At the age of 14, Gunn-Wright moved to Aurora, Illinois to attend the Mathematics and Science Academy. A short amount of time after moving, her asthma disappeared. Gunn-Wright attended Yale University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and received a bachelor’s degree in African American studies as well as women’s gender and sexuality studies in 2011. While in school she worked at the Polly Mccabe Centre for pregnant adolescents, the centre offers parenting classes and health care to young mothers. The New Haven Promise also inspired her to try and break the cycle of disadvantage. After graduating Gunn-Wright joined the Institute for women’s policy research, as a research fellow, she worked on paid maternity leave. In 2013 she was selected as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, while there she studied social policy. After graduating she served as an intern to Michelle Obama, she then was appointed policy lead for Abdul El Sayed’s campaign for governor in Michigan. In her policy agenda, they included state funded access to the internet and a shift to renewable energy by 2030. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez chose Gunn-Wright to join New Consensus, a think tank in Washington D.C. New Consensus has worked with Sunrise Movement to develop environmental policy program, they also worked with Justice Democrats on identifying new progressive candidates. As the policy director, Wright worked with Desmond Drummer on the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal has a plan for 100% renewable energy; net zero greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable jobs and high quality healthcare. Gunn-Wright believes that climate policy is connected to social justice. Over one million African American people live half a mile from oil or gas facility and six million live in the same county as a refinery. Wright has created a climate mobilization office where she works on climate change policy. She’s called for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy to be funded like DARPA, also called for the creation of a green bank that will offer financing to communities that don’t’ have access to clean water or transportation.

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