Pass a Green New Deal (GND)

Advocate for Green New Deal that keeps fossil fuels in the ground and ensures a just energy transition.

Photo of Dejah Powell
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Education
  • Environment

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


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Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

According to an IPCC report, we have 12 years, now 11, to avoid a climate catastrophe. We know the truth. Fossil fuel corporations profit off of destroying the planet. We must mobilize people to fight back and protect this earth. The Green New Deal is one hope of doing so. If we are unable to mobilize around radical climate policy, our legacy as humans will be that we are the cause of our extinction, alongside that of millions of other species.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Build a movement of people, young and old, from a diversity of backgrounds, to mobilize around a Green New Deal. (As Sunrise Movement is doing.) We must scale this work. I hope to educate as many people, in Chicago, and across the world, listening to their stories, then sharing how a Green New Deal could improve not only the livelihood of the environment but their own lives as well. We need every single person bought into the idea that the Green New Deal isn't just great for the climate, it's great for jobs, it's great for our health as humans, and it is a social justice policy that will leave no one behind if crafted justly and equitable. So I hope to educate, speak with, and engage as many people as possible.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

It was April of 2017, junior year of college. I studied abroad through a program, looking at climate change through food, water, and energy nexus. This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein sat in my lap, as I took a bumpy bus ride to a climate-smart village in Vietnam. As I experienced the impacts of climate change, both through the world around me and through the stories in the book, I got angrier. No, science wasn't enough to convince our elected officials to do something about the climate. We knew all that we needed to know. What would bring about a revolution in which the power of the people outweighed the power of corporations? Corporations who profit off of murdering indigenous people and taking their land, corporations who profit off of killing the planet. That anger is why I hope to start this project, to educate and empower as many folks to get involved.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I am stepping up to make the change because there is no other generation who holds the fate of the future/world in their hands. We need climate action and we need it now. Instead of cowering in despair, sitting hopeless, feeling like I am unable and unequipped to do anything about the environmental crisis, instead, I fight. Which is why I'm sharing these words, in hopes that others are inspired by radical calls for climate action.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

This education campaign looks like many things. In Chicago, we are not engaging my community, blacks across the South and West Side, with issues around climate as we should be. (We see what happens when a climatic event hits, such as Hurricane Katrina, and who is impacted most.) As a young girl, I've sat in the back seat plenty of times watching men and women walk up and down the busy street, selling candy, socks, rags, water, and newspaper to make a living. What if we collaborate with these individuals and poll people, asking them if they care about the climate (why or why not), if they are aware of the Green New Deal (if not, share what it is!) and if they could commit to educating someone else about the Green New Deal and why climate action matters. This is one example of how, at the grassroots level, we build momentum around a vision of climate action.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Many projects don't get at the root cause of issues. It's great to run a recycling program, start a school garden, launch a community composting program, many things of which I have done or projects I have been interested in starting. Many projects which I'm sure my peers will recommend when submitting ideas here. And yet... they are still not enough. They are not enough to transform society, collectively, as a whole, the way we must. This project's aim is to build momentum around legislation that could transform every sector of our society.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Through my organizing with Sunrise, a movement led by young people looking to stop the climate crisis and create millions of good jobs in the process, we have already catapulted ourselves into the media's attention. We have demanded a climate debate. We have pushed Senators across the country to endorse the Green New Deal. Though I have not done the project I propose yet, here in Chicago, I can only imagine the impact and difference it will make, speaking to as many Chicagoans I can, about the Green New Deal.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In the next year, I hope to work as an organizer, full-time, on the ground, educating people about climate change, about the Green New Deal, and about what they can do to get civically engaged to push for climate/social justice policy (because the Green New Deal isn't solely environmental legislation, it's an inclusive social justice plan.) I'd love to start in Chicago, and train and equip young people with the schools to take that energy and organize and build momentum in their own cities, towns, and communities. I hope to partner with other organizations, not just environmental organizations, to build the People's Alignment (a la Sunrise), which include labor unions, social/racial justice groups and big green groups.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Writing/Editing

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges


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