You may have never heard of Rhiana Gunn-Wright, but you probably have heard one of the most controversial policies being promoted by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Gunn-Wright is one of the masterminds behind the policy.
The Green New Deal was actually developed by a Black think tank in Chicago called New Consensus, which is headed up by organizer and Morehouse alumnus, Demond Drummer.
The Green New Deal was introduced in Congress by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). It includes a 10-year mobilization with five key environmental goals — “achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions; creating millions of good, high-wage jobs; investing in U.S. infrastructure and industry; securing clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all; and promoting justice and equity in vulnerable communities,” Essence reported.
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“All legislation has to meet certain goals. Our team did a deep dive into the research,” said Gunn-Wright, the policy director of New Consensus. “I also wrote a section of the policy paper.”
Gunn-Wright and Cornell law professor Robert C. Hockett recently co-authored the research paper “The Green New Deal: Mobilizing for a Just, Prosperous, and Sustainable Economy,” which was published in January 2019.
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For Gunn-Wright, a 29-year-old South Side Chicago native, Yale grad and Rhodes Scholar who was a onetime White House intern for former First Lady Michelle Obama, the Green New Deal has major significance. It will, supporters feel, positively impact Black communities.
Black communities are much more affected by environmental hazards, according to a 2017 report from the NAACP and Clean Air Task Force. It revealed that African Americans face disproportionate risks of health problems stemming from pollution. And more than one million African-Americans reside within half a mile of an oil and gas operation.
Although the Green New Deal has faced naysayers in Congress and failed to pass a Senate vote in March, there is a growing list of national organizations that have also endorsed the measure. Among the supporting groups are: Sierra Club, Green for All/Dream Corps, Honor the Earth, Earthjustice, and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), to name a few.