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Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor and host of Redemption Project and The Van Jones Show on CNN. Famous for his heart-felt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red states and blue throughout the volatile 2016 political season.
Jones has founded and led numerous social enterprises engaged in social and environmental justice.
- The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which promotes criminal justice reform
- Color of Change, which works for racial fairness through its over one million members
- Rebuild The Dream, a 21st Century "think tank" that champions innovative solutions to fix the U.S. economy and uplift the next generation. which promotes innovative policy solutions.
- The Dream Corps, an organization that brings people together to solve America's toughest problems. The Dream Corps' major initiatives are: #YesWeCode, aimed to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector; #cut50, an initiative focused on making communities safer while reducing the number of people in our prisons and jails. And Green For All, which advances environmental solutions that prioritize families and workers living on the frontlines of some of the worst pollution in America. In response to much civil unrest and energy post election, Jones launched the #Love Army -- a values based movement that is working for an America where everyone counts.
- Magic Labs Media, founded by Jones and where he currently serves as its President.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012) and Beyond the Messy Truth (2017).
He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors. Together with #cut50, Van succeeded in passing the FIRST STEP Act (a bipartisan Federal bill that the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation)
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root's 2014 "The Root 100." In 2017, Van Jones signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator & activist in their family. Jones lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife & two children.
Van Jones on A "First Step" in Criminal Justice Reform
Van Jones on the 2016 Presidential Election
Van Jones - The Redemption Project Official Trailer
Van Jones' Keynote at EMA IMPACT
Van Jones' Speech Topics
Rebuild The Dream: The Next American Economy
Imagine a new economy, where the founding principle of our country— liberty and justice for all—is deeply rooted in our economic philosophy and design, where businesses can profit alongside flourishing communities. The next American economy must value production over consumption, savings over credit and ecological restoration over ecological destruction. To achieve sustained prosperity, we need to transform our ideas and understanding around ownership and wealth—transcending consumerism, transforming corporations, and revitalizing communities.
#YesWeCode: Race, Gender & The Digital Divide
Former Obama advisor and CNN personality Van Jones created #YesWeCode to find real solutions. Housed at Dream Corps Unlimited, #YesWeCode is working to help 100,000 young adults of color – both women and men – find employment in the technology sector.
Learn from the many insights that Van has gleaned by working directly with dozens of major tech firms, the Obama White House, and the nation’s top accelerated training programs. Hear how cultural barriers – on both sides of the divide – may be the biggest obstacles to an inclusive tech sector.
"Green For All": Can Environmentalism Include Everyone?
The solar industry is booming. The fight for climate solutions is accelerating. The movement for a greener future is regaining steam. But will this renewed “green wave” lift ALL boats? Or will some places enjoy clean energy, green jobs and organic food, while others fall further behind? How can we avoid “ecological apartheid”? Van Jones has answers. He was the primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act of 2007. He is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to grow the green economy in communities of color. He wrote the bestseller, The Green-Collar Economy – the definitive book on green jobs. And he was the special advisor on green jobs and innovation to the Obama White House.
Protest & Politics In Age of Twitter
Van has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Van was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there).
"Green Jobs Not Jails": Criminal Justice + Ecology
The USA has only five percent of the world’s population. Yet we produce: (a) about 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses and (b) about 25 percent of its prisoners. Coincidence? Van Jones doesn’t think so. He sees “mass incarceration” and the “mass extinction” as twin outcomes of the same false ideology: disposability. Industrial society behaves as if we have a throwaway planet – and throwaway people, too. To reverse course, Van says we must shrink the prison system and grow the green economy.
"Beyond Prisons": Don't Criminalize - Humanize
Civil rights attorney and TV personality Van Jones seeks peaceful streets through approaches that are smarter, fairer and less costly. His organization, Dream Corps Unlimited, houses the Beyond Prisons campaign. That initiative works to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by at least 50 percent – by promoting proven, bipartisan solutions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans see much sense in locking people away for long periods of time, often for petty offenses, and then denying them a chance to work, vote, rent an apartment or get a student loan for the rest of their lives.
Works by Van Jones
Rebuild the Dream (opens in a new tab)
The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems (opens in a new tab)
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James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor; Chair, Department of African American Studies, Princeton University