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 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
“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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
UNCOMMON GROUND: Bipartisan Solutions In A Divided Age
Conventional wisdom holds that America is hopelessly divided. Endless partisan warfare has left people in frustration and despair across the political spectrum.
But Van Jones sees a way out. He has found a way to bridge divides, solve tough problems and win big — even on issues as traditionally polarizing as criminal justice reform and climate solutions.
Van’s bridge-building track record is practically unmatched. He moved the Bush, Obama AND Trump administrations to take powerful action to aid the downtrodden. (That’s right: he is a rare Democrat who got the last two Republican presidents to sign legislation he championed.)
And he has used his CNN shows and Amazon Podcast to talk with people across every conceivable divide.
Van’s success at the grassroots level is just as inspiring. In blue states, Van brought people together to close prisons and reform police departments. In red states, he helped U.S. coal miners beat the coal industry and save their pensions and health care.
How does he do it? What can we learn from his track record?
In this talk, Van shares fascinating, behind-the-scenes tales of bridging impossible divides — from the streets to the suites. And he reveals his secrets and principles for getting Americans to come together — even those who would rather tear each other apart.
No matter where you stand on the political spectrum: Van’s stories will surprise, affirm and challenge you. And especially if your campus, company or conference is dealing with internal conflicts and divisions, Van’s speech will help heal divides and restore hope.
Van Jones is the Perfect Speaker For Your Earth Day or Environmental Event
VAN JONES is a CNN host, political commentator, Emmy Award-winning producer, and author of three New York Times bestselling books: The Green Collar Economy (2008), Rebuild the Dream (2012) and Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How we Come Together (2017).
Van has also found success as a social entrepreneur, having founded and led many thriving enterprises including the Dream Corps, which works to close prison doors and open doors of opportunity in the green and tech economies, through initiatives such as Green For All.
In 2009, as the Green Jobs Advisor to the Obama White House, Jones oversaw an $80 billion dollar investment in clean energy jobs. Jones was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term "green jobs." During the Obama Administration, the legislation resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
A Yale educated attorney, Jones has won numerous awards, including the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation, Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”, TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”, the 2010 NAACP Image Award, a 2017 WEBBY Special Achievement Award, a 2019 Lumiere Award and a 2020 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Interactive Program.
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, and the host of the Webby Award-nominated podcast Uncommon Ground, where he is on a journey to find unifying solutions to our country’s biggest problems.
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).
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 JONES' honest, 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 CNN, Jones talked about the hope he feels for America in a march toward justice and equity: "A Great Awakening." He is the host of the Webby Award-nominated podcast Uncommon Ground, where he is on a journey to find unifying solutions to our country’s biggest problems.
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, 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).
Van Jones is widely known as a U.S. media personality, an entrepreneur and a world-class change maker. Outside of his roles as a CNN contributor and host of Amazon Music Podcast, Uncommon Ground, Jones has a rare track record in the modern era of bringing people together to do hard things -- in areas as diverse as clean energy solutions, criminal justice reform and racial inclusion in the tech sector. In 2007, Van was the primary champion of the Green Jobs Act, signed into law by George W. Bush. In 2009, he worked in the Obama White House as the Special Advisor for Green Jobs. In 2018, he helped pass the FIRST STEP Act – which the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation. In 2021, Jones was one of the first two recipients of Jeff Bezos' Courage & Civility Award. Over the past 25 years, Van has founded and led many successful social enterprises, including REFORM Alliance, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, Green For All and the Dream Corps. He worked with Prince to launch #YesWeCode (now called Dream Corps TECH) to get jobs in the tech sector for scores of low-opportunity young people. A world-class communicator of world-class ideas, Van is also a CNN host, an Emmy Award-winning producer and a 3X New York Times best-selling author.