Redefining radicalism - Page 2

Ella Baker Center director Van Jones preaches hope on the group's 10th anniversary

"Let's make it into job opportunities for poor people and build a green economy strong enough to lift us out of poverty. That's hope. We want to take people out of the prison cells, into solar cells." Jones's allies see him as a silver-tongued visionary, a lighting rod who can bridge movements with apparently differing agendas. Activist Julia Butterfly Hill, a longtime friend and political ally of Jones, told us at the event, "Van shows he cares and he's human, and he puts himself out there on the line. That's why you saw this coming together. This is the voice, this is the conversation that the planet is literally dying for, and I really mean sick and dying for." The evening, a spirited celebration of hope and achievement, gave influential friends a chance to size up where the group has been and where it's headed. As Harris of Mother Jones told us, "Van is a big thinker. He really engages people's imaginations in terms of what could be. There's one way, which is to fight against the system. Van's way is to reimagine the system." There to bless the event, Glover warmly heaped his own praise on Jones by comparing him to the Civil Rights Movement worker who is the organization's namesake. "When I think of Ella Baker and what she stood for, Van carries on that work, and I think that's vital. We envision ourselves through the women and men that set a certain standard. Van sets a certain standard." SFBG

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