Green jobs leader Van Jones is returning to the Center for American Progress as a Senior Fellow and leader of the new Green Opportunity Initiative. Van Jones, the founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Green for All, resigned from the White House last summer under a storm of fossil-fueled right-wing accusations that he was a “communist-anarchist radical” infiltrating the government, based on misrepresentations of Jones’ past activism.
Jones will also be the recipient this Friday of an NAACP Image Award, celebrating Jones’ achievements as “one of America’s most effective and inspiring bridge-builders” to find “creative solutions to the ecological and economic crises.” According to NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, Van Jones is an “American treasure“:
Van Jones is an American treasure. He is quite simply one of the few Americans in recent years to have generated powerful new ideas that are creating more jobs here. He penned the national bestseller, “The Green Collar Economy,” which provided the definitive blueprint for retooling American industry to create pathways out of poverty and generate a national economic recovery. He was a driving force behind passage of the 2007 Green Jobs Act. In fact, Van’s ideas have helped lead to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs across the industrial Midwest and throughout the nation’s decaying urban and rural areas.
John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress explains the Green Opportunity Initiative to be led by Van Jones:
Van is a pioneer in the effort to promote a clean, sustainable economy that works for all Americans. I’m proud that he’s coming back to CAP to focus on creating economic opportunity in distressed communities through the Green Opportunity Initiative and that he will be giving voice to those issues once again.
Jones will also have “a one-year joint appointment as a distinguished visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he will teach a seminar on environmental and economic policy.” Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the Center for African American Studies, told the Washington Post that Van Jones is “the leading voice in the environmental justice movement.”
Grist‘s David Roberts says Van Jones “has emerged from his self-imposed semi-exile with a bang.”