Continuing its commitment to further the dialogue on some of the complex issues facing our world, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Arizona State University is welcoming author, activist and TV host Van Jones to headline its annual Delivering Democracy Lecture on Saturday, April 21.
Jones, a Yale-educated attorney, is known for his work on CNN as a commentator and host of “The Van Jones Show.” He also served as President Barack Obama’s special adviser for green jobs.
Jones has published three New York Times best-selling books, including his most recent, “Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together.” He is the founder and president of Dream Corps, which, among other initiatives, aims to help youth from low-opportunity backgrounds find success in the tech sector; make communities safer; reduce prison populations; and advance environmental solutions.
The center's Delivering Democracy Lecture provides a platform for visionary speakers to discuss democracy and the importance of participatory democracy with the local community, a national audience and beyond. The Van Jones lecture will be followed by a facilitated dialogue led by ASU justice and social inquiry Professor Rashad Shabazz.
Shabazz, who has a personal relationship with Jones, thinks he has a special way of connecting with people.
“Van Jones is funny. I think one of the things people are going to discover when they are at the lecture is that he is incredibly astute, he is engaging, he’s thoughtful, he’s highly intelligent, but he does it in a way that is really accessible, entertaining and funny,” Shabazz said.
Shabazz also thinks that Jones offers something different when it comes to discussing such topics as race and democracy.
"Van Jones is bringing a critical perspective to contemporary politics. He’s helping us to think past some of the narrow, underdeveloped political understandings,” Shabazz said. “Whether people agree with Van Jones or not, hearing his perspective will provide a unique opportunity to have a nuanced and thoughtful political discussion.”
The event will kick off at 2 p.m. at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Phoenix with a community resource fair featuring local organizations and a mini concert by the church's choir. Van Jones will speak at 4:30 pm. Registration and parking information is available now.
Video courtesy of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy
The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts serves as a hub of collaborative activity and interchange among several colleges, schools and departments within ASU and the community at large. It is committed to socially embedded scholarship, increasing awareness and informed dialogue involving the topics of race and democracy. The center strives to provide safe and inclusive environments in which to question one’s own assumptions as well as those of other participants, amplify diverse voices and increase the number of allies who may find common ground to complex issues, and train emerging leaders in the necessity of effective anti-racism work. The center was the winner of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award.
Contact Kelley Karnes at Kelley.Karnes@asu.edu or 602-791-8278 for more information.