Van Jones: Civil Rights and Environmental Advocate

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Living Dialogues episode 68: Van Jones, Bob Gough, Bracken Hendricks and Jay Inslee – The Green Collar Economy, Intertribal Coup Wind Energy, Apollo’s Fire and Duncan’s New Energy for a New World

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VAN JONES is a civil rights and environmental advocate working to combine solutions to social inequality and environmental justice. He is the president and founder of Green For All, a national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Green For All grew out of Jones' work creating a 'Green Job Corp' in Oakland, California, as part of a program at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Jones founded the Ella Baker Center in 1996. Named for the civil rights and human rights heroine Ella Baker, the Center challenges human rights abuses in the United States criminal justice system and "promotes alternatives to violence and incarceration."

Jones won his first major award in 1998 when he was given the Reebok Human Rights Award. Other significant awards, include: the international Ashoka Fellowship; Echoing Green Fellowship; selection as a World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader;" the Rockefeller Foundation "Next Generation Leadership" Fellowship; Elle Magazine Green Award 2008; George Lucas Foundation's "Daring Dozen 2008;" Hunt Primee Mover Award 2008; and Campaign for America's Future "Paul Wellstone Award 2008."

Jones has served on the boards of numerous environmental and nonprofit organizations, including the National Apollo Alliance, Social Venture Network, Rainforest Action Network, Bioneers Julia Butterfly Hill’s "Circle of Life" organization and Free Press. He is also a Senior Fellow with Center for American Progress and a Fellow at IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences).

Jones currently focuses on green economic development for urban America. In 2007, the City of Oakland adopted the Ella Baker Center's "Green Jobs Corps" proposal, which provides $250,000 to train youth for eco-friendly “green-collar jobs.” Jones was also instrumental in helping to get the Green Jobs Act of 2007 passed, which authorizes $125 million to train workers for green collar jobs.
Jones is also a leader in progressive on-line activism. In response to the disaster that followed Hurricane Katrina, Jones teamed up with veteran James Rucker to create an e-activist community that would address Black issues and crises. The result was, the largest such online community in the United States, with more than 60,000 members. Color Of Change has successfully exposed and challenged many injustices and shortcomings in the storm’s aftermath.