Social Justice in the New Green Economy
Recently, I spoke with Ian Kim, policy director for the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center about his organization’s aspirations of building opportunities for disadvantaged communities in the “new green economy.” With an affinity for creating memorable names like “Silence the Violence” and “Books not Bars,” I was immediately struck by the campaign called “Reclaim the Future” and its “Apollo Challenge.”
Simply put, they are urging supporters to sign on, challenging Oakland to create sustainable jobs and energy independence within 10 years, the same amount of time President Kennedy gave the nation for “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” In 1969, Apollo 11 met the lunar challenge after 192 hours. In the Winter 2007 issue of Yes! Magazine, the Center’s executive director Van Jones and communications director Ben Wyskida wrote about their ideas for creating high quality jobs for Oakland residents while cleaning up the environment, improving public health and helping the region achieve energy independence through the promotion of alternative energy technologies.