“As an architect of the Green New Deal, Rhiana has presented one of the most important policy initiatives to address, arguably, the most crucial issues in the world right now.” —Chris Benner, director of the Institute for Social Transformation.
In 2019, Rhiana Gunn-Wright was included in Time magazine’s list of the “15 Women Leading the Fight Against Climate Change.” She is currently the Director of Climate Policy at the Roosevelt Institute, and a member of the Evergreen Advisory Board.
Rhiana started a career in public policy after graduating from Yale magna cum laude in 2011. In the summer of 2013, she served as a White House policy intern in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Office, and in 2015, she became a Design Research Fellow at Educational Credit Management Corporation in Minneapolis. Rhiana also worked as the Policy Analyst for the Detroit Health Department headed by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, and then served as the Policy Director for El-Sayed’s 2018 Michigan gubernatorial campaign. After El-Sayed’s loss, she joined New Consensus, a D.C.-based think tank founded by Demond Drummer, a Chicago-based grassroots organizer, and Saikat Chakrabarti, former Chief of Staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
As the policy lead for New Consensus, Rhiana was one of the intellectual architects of the Green New Deal. In February 2019, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts formally introduced a non-binding congressional resolution which called for a ten-year Green New Deal plan to tackle climate change, create clean energy jobs while promoting social and environmental justice. In April 2021, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey reintroduced the resolution to the congress.
Rhiana’s senior thesis, “Breaking the Brood Mare: Representation, Welfare Policy and Teen Pregnancy in New Haven,” earned several awards at Yale, including the Steere Prize in Women’s Studies. In 2013, she received the Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford, where she obtained an MPhil in Comparative Social Policy in 2015. Rhiana is the author of the critically acclaimed essay “The Green New Deal for All of Us,” and she has written pieces for the New York Times and TeenVogue.
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