Life-long Massachusetts resident and UMass Amherst graduate is leading voice for young people mobilizing to implement inclusive climate and energy policies


Washington (February 4, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) will bring Varshini Prakash, Executive Director and co-founder of Sunrise, a movement of young people working to stop climate change, to the State of the Union on February 5. Born in Massachusetts and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Prakash has already spent years successfully organizing young people who are dedicated to ending the reign of Big Oil and King Coal in politics and elect leaders who will fight for the health and well-being of future generations. She was recently named to the Grist Top 50 Fixers for “people cooking up the boldest, most ambitious solutions to humanity's biggest challenges”.


“Varshini is a powerful voice of her generation, leading an historic movement of young people who recognize that climate change is the most important issue facing the planet and its leaders,” said Senator Markey. “As a fearless leader on climate change, Varshini’s efforts are progressive, passionate, and effective, and that is just what we need to implement a green New Deal for our country. I thank Varshini for her commitment to climate change action, and look forward to working with her to implement bold and transformational solutions to the climate crisis.”


“I am thankful to be joining Senator Markey as his guest to the State of the Union,” said Prakash. “My generation is facing an ever more chaotic and uncertain future as the ravages of the climate crisis begin to manifest all around us, hurting communities of color and low-income communities first and worst. Senator Markey has been a climate leader for decades. I'm grateful for his recognition of the advocacy of thousands of young people and frontline communities to secure a better, safer, healthier world for all of us.”


Senator Markey is Chair of the Senate Climate Task Force, and a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He is the co-author of the only comprehensive climate change legislation ever to pass a chamber of Congress.