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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talk About Being Read, Black and Green! Introducing Mr. Van Jones, Pres. Obama's Czar of Green Jobs

Our readers undoubtedly know that Mr. Starks and I have been extremely critical of Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union over the last few years. But I readily confess, that Yale educated attorney/author Van Jones (along with GOP Chair Michael Steele) was one of the bright spots for this year's Union tete a tete. I have stated on many occasions, that presently America's industrial complex is in shambles. Simply put, we just do not make anything. But Mr. Jones plans to put an end to this stagnancy by propagating the need for a green industry. It doesn't hurt that President Obama tapped Jones to be our nation's Green Jobs czar. And then, of course, there's always his book-The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

Check out this recent report on Jones' endeavors, as detailed by AOL's Black Voices:

Van Jones: Obama's Black Czar of Green Jobs

Van Jones was a little-known community organizer just a few years ago with an unusual mission. How could a rare black environmental activist help and yet bridge two vulnerable worlds that meant so much to him -- the struggling African American community and the fragile realm of nature? On a deeper level, Jones also sought to unite the people engaged in working on both issues, proving that environmental and social activism are mutually beneficial, not mutually exclusive.

Many years and one New York Times best-seller later, Van has proven that being green isn't a "white thing," and issues that affect African Americans include green ones. In his hit book, 'The Green Collar Economy,' Jones makes a case for why the environment, the creation of jobs, and pollution in poor neighborhoods are connected issues with a common solution -- the rapid creation of "green collar" jobs. Green collar jobs are working-class vocational jobs that America needs NOW to clean up the environment and retrofit existing systems to prevent the creation of future waste. In promoting his cause, Van has explained:

"It's time to stop borrowing and start building. America's No. 1 resource is not oil or mortgages. Our No. 1 resource is our people. Let's put people back to work - retrofitting and repowering America... You can't base a national economy on credit cards. But you can base it on solar panels, wind turbines, smart biofuels and a massive program to weatherize every building and home in America."

The power of his message in 'The Green Collar Economy,' combined with his years of experience in activism, has helped Jones become the "green jobs czar" of Obama's administration. Of course Van's Yale University law degree probably doesn't hurt either. An African American, Ivy League-educated community activist with a best-selling book... Sound like anyone else we know?

While Obama might be sold on Van's ideas, many black people I am certain will still need convincing. Jones stresses that African American activism in the area of environmentalism is part of a necessary, new strategy of community organizing:

"You can't do black politics in the 21st century in the same way as you did in the 20th... This can't be about grievance; it has to be about opportunity."

Do you agree with Van and believe that it's time the black community got green?

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