Van Jones

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  • Political Contributor, CNN
  • Social Entrepreneur and President and Co-Founder, Dream Corps
  • Three-Time New York Times Bestselling Author
  • Former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation, Obama Administration


Van Jones’ honest and poignant social commentary has made him one of the most compelling and powerful public voices in America.  A U.S. media personality, New York Times bestselling author, social entrepreneur, and world-class change maker, his reach transcends age, race, geography and political ideology.

A CNN political contributor, Jones is the host of The Van Jones Showin which he offers his unique take on the future political landscape, and The Redemption Project, which is focused on criminal justice reform. A go-to voice of reason, heralded for his bipartisan, solutions-oriented approach, Jones burst into the American consciousness during the 2016 presidential campaign with an unscripted, truth-telling style and an already established history of bridge-building across party lines.

A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, he has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively. He pushes people on both the left and the right to be better With experience working with the last four consecutive presidents to sign legislation on issues like prison reform, the green jobs act, and opioid recovery, Jones is a true Washington insider. He is also the author of three New York Times bestselling books, Beyond the Messy Truth, Rebuild the Dream, and The Green Collar Economy. A dynamic speaker sought-out to speak at financial institutions and college campuses alike, he offers unvarnished and future-looking analysis on politics, policy, climate change, and being a change-maker in a complicated world. 

 

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Rave Reviews About Van Jones
Excellent. Van tailored his remarks and his approach very thoughtfully to the different audiences at our three events. He was inspiring and substantive and beyond generous with his time and energy.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Van Jones
  • Council for Children's Rights
  • Environmental Media Association
  • University of Iowa
  • MPAC
  • Vassar
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Stanford University
  • University of Denver
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Washington University
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Unity over discord: Finding common ground in politics today

Van Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively. In these candid, compelling and actionable remarks, he offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. He urges both parties to abandon t ...

Van Jones has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively. In these candid, compelling and actionable remarks, he offers a blueprint for transforming our collective anxiety into meaningful change. He urges both parties to abandon the politics of accusation, issues a stirring call for a new “bipartisanship from below,” and points us all toward practical answers to problems that affect us all regardless of region or ideology. Chock-full of poignant personal anecdotes from his decades of activism on behalf of working people, inspiring stories of ordinary citizens who became champions of their communities, and little-known examples of cooperation in the midst of partisan conflict, Jones remarks leave audiences ready to set fire to old ways of thinking about politics and empowered to come together to help those most in need.

The fight to save our planet

Media personality and change-maker Van Jones is an environmental leader heralded for his solutions-oriented approach to climate change and promoting green business. Drawing on his experience working with President Barack Obama on environmental policy and the Green Jobs Act, and the research for his  ...

Media personality and change-maker Van Jones is an environmental leader heralded for his solutions-oriented approach to climate change and promoting green business. Drawing on his experience working with President Barack Obama on environmental policy and the Green Jobs Act, and the research for his New York Times bestselling book The Green Collar Economy, Jones provides illuminating insight into the fight to save our planet and the policy initiatives that work. Delivering a much-needed economic and environmental two-pronged approach, he shares a wise, necessary, and eminently achievable plan for both saving the earth and rescuing working class Americans.

“Beyond Prisons”: Don’t Criminalize – Humanize

Civil rights attorney and TV personality Van Jones seeks peaceful streets through approaches that are smarter, fairer and less costly. His organization, Dream Corps Unlimited, houses the Beyond Prisons campaign. That initiative works to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by at least 50 ...

Civil rights attorney and TV personality Van Jones seeks peaceful streets through approaches that are smarter, fairer and less costly. His organization, Dream Corps Unlimited, houses the Beyond Prisons campaign. That initiative works to safely and smartly reduce the prison population by at least 50 percent – by promoting proven, bipartisan solutions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans see much sense in locking people away for long periods of time, often for petty offenses, and then denying them a chance to work, vote, rent an apartment or get a student loan for the rest of their lives.

“Green Jobs Not Jails”: Criminal Justice + Ecology

The USA has only five percent of the world’s population. Yet we produce: (a) about 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses and (b) about 25 percent of its prisoners. Coincidence? Van Jones doesn’t think so. He sees “mass incarceration” and the “mass extinction” as twin outcomes of the same false ideolog ...

The USA has only five percent of the world’s population. Yet we produce: (a) about 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses and (b) about 25 percent of its prisoners. Coincidence? Van Jones doesn’t think so. He sees “mass incarceration” and the “mass extinction” as twin outcomes of the same false ideology: disposability. Industrial society behaves as if we have a throwaway planet – and throwaway people, too. To reverse course, Van says we must shrink the prison system and grow the green economy.

Protest & Politics In Age Of Twitter

Van has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice ref ...

Van has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Van was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there).

“Green For All”: Can Environmentalism Include Everyone?

The solar industry is booming. The fight for climate solutions is accelerating. The movement for a greener future is regaining steam. But will this renewed “green wave” lift ALL boats? Or will some places enjoy clean energy, green jobs and organic food, while others fall further behind? How can we a ...

The solar industry is booming. The fight for climate solutions is accelerating. The movement for a greener future is regaining steam. But will this renewed “green wave” lift ALL boats? Or will some places enjoy clean energy, green jobs and organic food, while others fall further behind? How can we avoid “ecological apartheid”? Van Jones has answers. He was the primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act of 2007. He is the founder of Green For All, a national organization working to grow the green economy in communities of color. He wrote the bestseller, The Green-Collar Economy – the definitive book on green jobs. And he was the special advisor on green jobs and innovation to the Obama White House.

#YesWeCode: Race, Gender & The Digital Divide

Former Obama advisor and CNN personality Van Jones created #YesWeCode to find real solutions. Housed at Dream Corps Unlimited, #YesWeCode is working to help 100,000 young adults of color – both women and men – find employment in the technology sector. Learn from the many insights that Van has gleane ...

Former Obama advisor and CNN personality Van Jones created #YesWeCode to find real solutions. Housed at Dream Corps Unlimited, #YesWeCode is working to help 100,000 young adults of color – both women and men – find employment in the technology sector. Learn from the many insights that Van has gleaned by working directly with dozens of major tech firms, the Obama White House, and the nation’s top accelerated training programs. Hear how cultural barriers – on both sides of the divide – may be the biggest obstacles to an inclusive tech sector.

Rebuild The Dream: The Next American Economy

Imagine a new economy, where the founding principle of our country— liberty and justice for all—is deeply rooted in our economic philosophy and design, where businesses can profit alongside flourishing communities. The next American economy must value production over consumption, savings over credit ...

Imagine a new economy, where the founding principle of our country— liberty and justice for all—is deeply rooted in our economic philosophy and design, where businesses can profit alongside flourishing communities. The next American economy must value production over consumption, savings over credit and ecological restoration over ecological destruction. To achieve sustained prosperity, we need to transform our ideas and understanding around ownership and wealth—transcending consumerism, transforming corporations, and revitalizing communities.

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<p>Van Jones challenges people to find common ground, and speaks about the hope he feels for America in march toward justice and equity</p>

Van Jones challenges people to find common ground, and speaks about the hope he feels for America in march toward justice and equity

A CNN political contributor, VAN JONES is the host of The Van Jones Show, in which he offers his unique take on the future political landscape, and The Redemption Project, which is focused on criminal justice reform. Jones’ honest and poignant social commentary has made him one of the most compelling and powerful public voices in America. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in the conservative South, he has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in one another’s shoes and disagree constructively. He pushes people on both the left and the right to be better. In a recent interview, Jones talked about the hope he feels for America in a march toward justice and equity. He is also the author of three New York Times bestselling books, Beyond the Messy Truth, Rebuild the Dream, and The Green Collar Economy. A dynamic speaker sought-out to speak at financial institutions and college campuses alike, he offers unvarnished and future-looking analysis on politics, policy, climate change, and being a change-maker in a complicated world. Jones is a social entrepreneur, and world-class change-maker, his reach transcends age, race, geography, and political ideology. Audiences love Van saying, “Excellent. Van tailored his remarks and his approach very thoughtfully to the different audiences at our three events. He was inspiring and substantive and beyond generous with his time and energy.” (Washington University) "He was terrific! He was incredibly generous with his time. He gave a wonderful lecture and was entertaining, thought-provoking and honest. It was a really special night." (University of Iowa) "His combination of green jobs and prison reform made me feel less hopeless about the state of our country. It provided a solution to a complex problem. Also his spiel on looking into the eyes of young people and looking up for the future and problem-solvers gave me goosebumps in a great way." (Tulane University).

<p>Speaker Spotlight: Van Jones</p>

Speaker Spotlight: Van Jones

CEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN political commentator, and host of The Redemption Project and The Van Jones Show on CNN, VAN JONEShonest, poignant social commentary has made him one of the most compelling and powerful public voices in the country. A longtime progressive activist with deep roots in Tennessee, he has made it his mission to challenge voters and viewers to stand in each other's shoes and disagree constructively. He pushes people on both the Left and the Right to be better. In a recent interview on CNNJones talked about the hope he feels for America in a march toward justice and equity: "A Great Awakening."

He is also the author of three New York Times bestselling books, Beyond the Messy TruthRebuild the Dream, and The Green Collar Economy. A dynamic, emotionally powerful speaker sought-out by financial institutions and college campuses alike, he offers unvarnished and future-looking analysis on politics, policy, climate change, and being a change-maker in a complicated world. Jones is a social entrepreneur and world-class bridge-builder; his reach transcends age, race, geography, and political ideology. Audiences love Van saying, Excellent. Van tailored his remarks and his approach very thoughtfully to the different audiences at our three events. He was inspiring and substantive and beyond generous with his time and energy. (Washington University) "He was terrific! He was incredibly generous with his time. He gave a wonderful lecture and was entertaining, thought-provoking and honest. It was a really special night." (University of Iowa) "His combination of green jobs and prison reform made me feel less hopeless about the state of our country. It provided a solution to a complex problem. Also his spiel on looking into the eyes of young people and looking up for the future and problem-solvers gave me goosebumps in a great way.(Tulane University).

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Biography

Van Jones is a U.S. media personality, the founder of multiple social enterprises and a world-class change maker.

MEDIA: A three-time NY Times bestselling author, Van is a CNN political commentator, and has hosted The Redemption Project and The Van Jones Show on CNN. He is the host of CNN’s “Incarceration, Inc.” podcast series. In 2013-2014, Van was a co-host of CNN CROSSFIRE, along with Newt Gingrich; he later hosted a special event series on CNN called “The Messy Truth.” He is the co-founder of Magic Labs Media LLC, a producer of the WEBBY Award-winning Messy Truth digital series.

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR: Van’s life mission is to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity. He has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. To achieve his goals, Van co-founded a series of social enterprises, including: Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and the Dream Corp - a social justice accelerator that houses #YesWeCode, Green For All and #cut50. Today, Van is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, an initiative founded by Jay-Z, Meek Mill and six billionaires to transform the criminal justice system.

SOCIAL IMPACT: In 2018, Van and #cut50 led the winning campaign to pass the FIRST STEP Act — a bipartisan federal bill that The New York Times called the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation. This was not Van’s first history-making legislative victory: a decade earlier, Van was the primary champion of the Green Jobs Act of 2007. In 2009, he worked as the green jobs advisor to the Obama White House. 

Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation, Fast Company's 2008 "12 Most Creative Minds On Earth," Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done,” Variety's 2018 "New York Power List," TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2009, NAACP Image Award in 2010, and a WEBBY Special Achievement award in 2017.

In 2017, Van signed a management deal with Roc Nation, becoming the first political commentator in their family. In 1990, he earned a B.S. in communication and political science from the University of Tennessee at Martin. In 1993, Van earned a degree from Yale Law School.

Born in Jackson, Tennessee, Van lives in New York City and Los Angeles. He is a proud father of two sons.