Take America Forward: Black is the New Green

By Andre Banks Jun 20, 2007

Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights just gave a really amazing and inspiring speech at Take Back America about the potential power of a progressive coalition coming together to build a green economy that protects the earth and lifts people out of poverty. Majora Carter, MacArthur "genius," and visionary organizer in the Bronx joined him along with Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) and Jane McDonald-Pines from the AFL-CIO. Van walked the crowd through the distinct waves of the environmental movement up to the "third wave" he sees us entering now. A reaction to the environmental movement’s emphasis on land and animals over people and poverty, this new wave is focused on innovations and investments that will build a green economy strong enough to create jobs in low-income communities. Rather than pushing our environmental crises into poor communities and communities of color, this new wave has the power to give those communities a new bank of jobs and skills that can generate a structural change in the economy. New and more jobs concentrated in the places where they are in the shortest supply. Hilda Solis is introducing a bill today that starts to do this work. Investing in new green technologies tied to economic development in urban centers where Black and Brown folks are concentrated. I asked a question about the communications strategy around this work. It’s incredibly innovative, yet terribly unsung. More media folks and writers (this one included) need to get themselves educated and invested beyond reducing their carbon footprints or whatever Al Gore told us we were supposed to do… There are incredible stories here that need to be told. I’ve done a terrible disservice in this brief description, especially because I got in late and missed Majora Carter’s remarks. Definitely check out the Ella Baker Center and Sustainable South Bronx along with the Apollo Alliance for more.