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Van Jones Kicks Off Civil Rights Speakers Series

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Environmental and social justice activist Van Jones will speak in Springfield this week on the future of civil rights, the first in a series of speeches planned to mark next year’s 45th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Jones will speak at CityStage on Friday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free but tickets are needed to attend; email Amaad.rivera@state.ma.us for tickets or more information.

Jones is the co-founder and president of Rebuild the Dream, which describes itself as “a platform for bottom-up, people-powered innovations to help fix the U.S. economy.” Rebuild the Dream is also the title of his 2012 book, in which he discussed his time working in the Obama White House—he was the administration’s special advisor on green jobs, a position he left after coming under fire by conservatives for his political stances—and outlined ways to rebuild our economy and our democracy. He’s also the author of 2008’s The Green Collar Economy.

In 2009, Time named Jones to its list of 100 most influential people and enlisted actor/ environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to write a testimonial about him. DiCaprio called Jones “a pioneer in fusing economic opportunity and social justice with environmentalism [who] represents an important progression in our country’s perception and thus our approach to combating global warming.”

The civil rights speech series is sponsored by the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination and Springfield’s Martin Luther King Family Services. The final event will be the 2013 Northeast Regional Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference, to be held in Springfield on April 11 and 12.

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