The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Stephen O’Hanlon, Sunrise,, (610) 955-7398.

Kentucky Youth Lead 250+ with Sunrise in McConnell's Office to Say: "Kentucky Needs a Green New Deal"

42 youth arrested as McConnell’s staff refuse to engage and kick out constituents


This morning, over 250 young people from around the country joined Kentucky high schoolers in Washington DC to confront Mitch McConnell around his upcoming Green New Deal show vote -- a shameful ploy that's playing games with young peoples' futures -- and pressure Senators of both parties to co-sponsor the resolution.

"I am here because people in my community don't have jobs, are starving and turning to opiods and dying, said Lily Gardner, a 15 year old Sunrise leader from Lexington, KY. "Mitch McConnell refuses to do anything about it. His own constituents -- high schoolers -- have traveled here to meet with him. All we want is for him to put our lives above the interests of his campaign donors. Kentucky needs a Green New Deal."

Every day this past week, young Kentuckians were turned away at McConnell's Louisville office. They wanted to ask him to look them in the eyes and explain why he was doing the bidding of his oil and gas donors, instead of protecting their futures. On Thursday evening, they camped outside his office overnight.

"Kentucky youth travelled here today because their state needs a Green New Deal, said Sunrise Executive Director Varshini Prakash. Mitch McConnell's Green New Deal vote is a political stunt to score some points for his wealthy donors. We're here to warn him and all Senators: if you refuse to back the Green New Deal, young people will remember next time you ask for our votes."

Speakers touted the broad support for the Green New Deal across the country. Recent polling shows that over 80% of the public agrees with the principles of the Green New Deal. Kentucky youth shared stories about how their communities were dealing with the impacts of Mitch McConnell and the oil lobby's dangerous policies, from the record floods that took the lives of friends to the family members who can't find work

"If I could say anything to McConnell, I would ask him: 'Does it not weigh on you at all that your own constituents are facing the life or death consequences of climate change all across the state, yet you continue to side with fossil fuel CEOs?," said Destine Rigsby, a 17 year old leader from Louisville, KY. "You line your pockets while we die in floods and choke on the air we breathe, yet you don't even have the decency to look us in the eyes."

Tomorrow, as the Senate vote nears, thousands with Sunrise and partners will be holding rallies or sit-ins at 70 Congressional offices across the country to demand politicians of both parties co-sponsor Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey's Green New Deal Resolution. This includes a number of Senators up for re-election in 2020. They will ask all Senators: Will you support our generation's best and last hope at avoiding climate catastrophe in our lifetimes, or will you cave to Mitch McConnell and the fossil fuel lobbyists?

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Over the coming days, Varshini Prakash and Kentucky youth will be available for interview. Contact Stephen at to book.

Varshini Prakash, 25, is the Executive Director and a co-founder of Sunrise, the movement of young people who's sit-in at Nancy Pelosi's office in November put the Green New Deal in the national spotlight. Prakash recently was Sen. Markey's guest to the State of the 2019 Union address and was named one of Grist's 2018 50 "Fixers." Over the past two years, she has appeared extensively in print, radio, and TV media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and more. Varshini also has has been a voice for young Americans as a delegate to international climate negotiations: last fall she led a mass walkout of US youth during a Trump administration panel. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, but is in DC this week.




Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.