Friday, July 4, 2008

Van Jones and Green Collar Jobs

I had never heard of Van Jones before I learned he was the Ware Lecturer for 2008, joining such greats as Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr. , and Helen Caldicott - and now he appears to be everywhere. Founder of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Jones recently worked with Nancy Pelosi last year to pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007, which authorizes up to $125 million per year to train workers in "green collar" jobs.

Like another better known African American leader, Jones does not shy away from fixing accountability, but offers hope along with a call for responsibility: “Martin Luther King did not give a speech entitled “I have a complaint!” Rather than a call to protest, his message was that we are at a turning point, with a need now to govern. It is far easier, he says, to be against whoever is in power, rather than having the responsibility to use power wisely to make the changes we have been calling for. It seems he knew his audience well.

Articulate, smart, funny, and passionate about his values, Jones got a rousing, standing ovation. As he shook hands with some of the people in the area where I was sitting, Board member Lyn Conley pointed to our 150 strong young caucus and said “the youth are over there”. Watching him join that young, excited, cheering crowd I was ready to go home, head to his office in Oakland, and volunteer to work for him – along with several other thousand of us.

In her “20 Reasons to Come to GA”, Moderator Gini Coulter said “ten years from now, you will be glad you heard him here”. I think she is right – read a review of his speech and hear his lecture via streaming video by scrolling down to Saturday and clicking on the Ware Lecture.

And if the Colbert Report is more to your liking, see Jones explaining what "green collar jobs" are with a little heckling from his host.

Next post: Forrest Church and Learning to Fall


Harold said...

Yes, I watched Van Jones on the GA website via streaming video. He was terrific! However, we need to get this out to many more people. I know several people who only have dial-up internet and can't view the videos online. I was disappointed that the DVD version costs $20.00, and there was no way to download the video on something like Quicktime format to burn our own DVDs. Why doesn't UUA find a way to make the DVDs of these terrific GA resources available less expensively? At the least, the Van Jones lecture should be made for free to all the congregation!
- Harold Wood
UU Visalia

Anonymous said...

I am just guessing but the $20 is probably because there is a limited number of dvd's created. Its the economies of scale and all that. Maybe the UUA could have a volunteer create the DVDs for congregations or have a scholarship to help people who could not afford the videos.

It would be great for congregations to show the video to its parishioners for free.

Linda Laskowski said...

The UUA has a small technical staff, so creating, duplicating, and selling CDs and DVDs is contracted to a third party. This allows the technical staff to focus on "in the moment" sight and sound, and the free streaming video. If the UUA distributed DVDs for free, they - actually "we" :>) - would have to pay $20 as well. I will be purchasing one for the UU Church of Berkeley and would be glad to loan it.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the article. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.