Van Jones is working to combine solutions to America's two biggest
problems: social inequality and environmental destruction.
In 1996, Van founded the Ella
Baker Center for Human Rights
. Named for an unsung civil rights
heroine, the Center promotes alternatives to violence and
incarceration. As an advocate for the toughest urban constituencies
and causes, Van has won many honors. These include the 1998 Reebok
International Human Rights Award, the international Ashoka
Fellowship, selection as a World Economic Forum "Young Global
Leader," and the Rockefeller Foundation "Next Generation
Van is also a national environmental leader, having served on the
boards of the National Apollo Alliance, Social Ventures Network,
Rainforest Action Network, Bioneers and Julia Butterfly Hill's
Circle of Life organization.
Van's dual roles have given him a unique perspective on the
country's problems and its potential solutions. He is calling for
green economic development for urban America. The City of Oakland
has adopted the Ella Baker Center's "Green Jobs Corps" proposal,
which will train youth for eco-friendly "green-collar jobs."
Now Van is pushing to create the first-ever Green Enterprise Zone,
to attract environmentally-sound industry to Oakland.
A 1993 Yale Law graduate, he is also a husband and father. A rising
star, Van champions the most hopeful solutions to America's
You can read a transcript of this interview on my blog,
Have Fun * Do Good