Van Jones, an award-winning human rights lawyer who founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, spoke about his entrepreneurial work on social justice issues, including the incarceration of youth, at this OSI-Baltimore event. Jones' advocacy efforts have led to groundbreaking successes in establishing the largest network of parents of incarcerated children in the nation, encouraging investment in education and communities rather than new juvenile detention facilities, and curtailing police abuse in Northern California. Jones also is campaigning to ensure that low-income people benefit economically from new jobs in green construction, clean technology, urban agriculture, and the energy sector.
Jones spoke at a luncheon honoring the newest class of OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows, who have received $48,750 stipends to work full-time for 18 months on creative projects to revitalize underserved communities in Baltimore. This year’s class consists of eight fellows, ranging from a prominent chef training former inmates in culinary operations to a bicycle mechanic providing affordable transportation for city residents. This new class joins 78 other past fellows who continue to do outstanding work in Baltimore.