Former WITNESS Board Member Van Jones Joins the Obama Administration

Regions: United States

Issues: Environment

Tags: economic justice, environmental rights, green for all, van jones, WITNESS

In my first few months of moving to San Francisco years ago I kept hearing about Van Jones - Van Jones is an amazing speaker, Van will know, you should talk with Van, etc.  All were true.

Over the past year or so, Van Jones has harnessed a TON of media attention for his work to advance social and environmental justice, and rightfully so.  Recently, Van joined the Obama Administration and here at WITNESS we discussed our rich history of collaboration with Van and how the groups he has founded and worked with have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of harnessing the power of video to create change.

In addition to WITNESS' partnership with Ella Baker Center, which Van co-founded and once directed, Van was a WITNESS Board Member and has been a supportive and inspirational collaborator.  So, we thought it would be appropriate to feature some of the videos from our partnership, as well as highlight Green For All, a national organization Van founded to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Books Not Bars


Books Not Bars documented the inspiring youth-led movement against the growth of the U.S. prison industry, particularly in California.  Read how it was used as a primary outreach tool to engage and mobilize communities to compat the prison industrial system.

System Failure: Violence, Abuse and Neglect in the California Youth Authority


System Failure, a video that targeted California policymakers, local and state juvenile justice officials, parents of imprisoned children, and community organizations. Read how System Failure was successfully integrated in a campaign to close youth detention centers in California. 

Green for All

Green for All advocates for local, state and federal commitment to job creation, job training, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities.  Green For All fights both poverty and pollution at the same time, and is one of my favorite organizations - particularly for their use of video...

Watch this video to learn more (and you can see all of their videos here)