Distinguished Speaker Van Jones Postpones Lecture

This year’s installation of Pomona College’s Distinguished Speaker Series, which was scheduled to host civil rights and environmental activist Anthony “Van” Jones on Nov. 5, has been postponed and tentatively rescheduled for Jan. 26. Jones’ office has not confirmed the date for his January lecture.

Jones was invited to participate in a brainstorming project in Santa Monica with former Vice President Al Gore. The project was scheduled for the same day as Jones’ commitment to speak at Pomona and would have delayed his arrival.

“[His office and I] made the decision to postpone his visit to January, so as to have a complete day with him and have as many opportunities as possible for the community to interact with him,” said Neil Gerard, Associate Dean of Students.

Some students have been concerned about the change of date, especially students studying abroad in the spring.

“I had been looking forward to hearing him speak,” Ilona Kats PO ’12 said. “I even ordered a poster for him to sign!”

However, for Kats and other students who will be forced to miss the lecture in the spring, the lecture will be filmed and posted on the Pomona College website.

Van Jones is the co-founder of three non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green For All. He was also appointed Special Advisor for Green Jobs on President Obama’s White House Council for Environmental Quality.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, founded in 1996, has a mission to break the cycle of urban violence and incarceration by offering productive and progressive alternatives. The organization has launched a number of campaigns hoping to inspire “justice in the system; opportunity in cities; and peace on the streets.”

Jones co-founded Color of Change in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The organization is dedicated to promoting and encouraging political awareness and participation among Black Americans, especially through web-based media.

Green For All came into being after Jones attended the Clinton Global Initiative. First instituted as an Ella Baker Center Campaign, Green For All grew into its own entity and formally opened its doors in January 2008.

As a member of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Jones focused on creating environmentally friendly job opportunities. He resigned from his position in September 2009.

In the past, the College has hosted David Plouffe, President Obama’s Campaign Manager, and Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as lecturers for the series.

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