Established in 2017 "to lift up the extraordinary courage and will it takes to stand up to oppressive corporate and political power," the award is named for Henry A. Wallace, U.S. secretary of agriculture and vice president during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and an intellectual architect of many New Deal programs. Launched in 2017, the Sunrise Movement has led efforts to advance the Green New Deal, which calls for a ten-year, government-driven transition to a green economy through investments in clean energy, buildings, and transportation, as well as job retraining and social and economic justice programs.
With the goal of "building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and well-being of all people," the Sunrise Movement launched a "Road to a Green New Deal Tour" in April to build nationwide support and work with other movements to elect a president and Congress that will advance a Green New Deal.
"They have a smart strategy around building power with the audacity of their vision," Wallace Global Fund executive director Ellen Dorsey told Reuters. "Critics belittle them and question their authenticity, but they are brave and are doubling down."