Sunday, May 27, 2007

Van Jones Testifies Before Congress on Green Collar Jobs

You can't lead a country you don't love. That is the big problem that the Left has had since the late '60s. You're trying to lead a country but you don't love the country. You can't lead a country you don't love.--Van Jones

Wherever he goes, Van Jones inspires. Over the past month, many of you have posted comments or sent me emails about my interview with Van Jones, the President and Co-founder of Oakland's Ella Baker Center, that I posted here, and on the Big Vision Podcast.
I just finished listening to your podcast interview of Van Jones. Whoa. This guy is a genius.

He is really inspiring - I've listened to it more than once.

Van Jones' project and politics are very inspiring and refreshing! Seriously, I had almost forgotten what my passion in life was until this article woke me up and reminded me.

His work as a nonprofit leader of color is a great inspiration to me.

Listened to your interview with Van Jones yesterday from Big Vision - I almost cried.
I am happy to tell you that The U.S. Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Chaired by Edward Markey (D-MA), also got to hear Van Jones when he testified last Tuesday, May 22nd, along with Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance; Elsa Barboza, Campaign Coordinator for Green Industries, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) in Los Angeles, CA; and Bob Thelen, Chief Training Officer, Capital Area Michigan Works! in Lansing, MI.

The Select Committee held a special hearing, entitled: "Economic Impacts of Global Warming: Green Collar Jobs." According to Jones' post on The Huffington Post the next day, green-collar legislation is being developed:
"Congresswoman Solis spoke of the need to respond to the global warming crisis by investing -- not only in new infrastructure -- but also in people. . . Congresswoman Solis mentioned legislation she is drafting, along with several other Members. The legislation will invest in green jobs as means to help workers and low-income people get in on the ground floor of this booming sector of the U.S. economy.

Her exciting, new proposal would give federal support to 'green collar job training' programs, which would help give U.S. workers (and would-be workers) access to the skills they will need to compete in the new, green job market."

Too often the work of social change feels separate from government. As Vandana Shiva writes in Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace,
"For too many people democracy is periodically voting for leaders who turn their backs and say, 'It doesn't matter if you don't want war, I'll still go to war. It doesn't matter if you don't want GMOs. We'll still force-feed you with GMOs. It doesn't matter if you don't want to privatize your education system, we'll still privatize it anyway.' This 'democracy' does not represent or inspire the people."
But I gotta tell you, when I heard about this hearing and that green-collar legislation was being developed, for the first time in a long time, our democracy inspired me and I loved my country.

Photo Credit: Van Jones with permission from the Ella Baker Center.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:04 PM

    The House of Representatives just passed the Green Jobs Act of 2007! This is an excellent idea for social and environmental change and I am happy to see that Congress sees that too.


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