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Video: Watch Van Jones Deliver the 2010-11 Distinguished Lecture

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Van Jones, environmental advocate, civil rights activist and attorney, kicked off the 2010-2011 Pomona College Distinguished Speaker Series: Change Makers, on Jan. 26. The title of his talk was "Beyond Green Jobs: The Next American Economy and the Politics of Hope."

In his speech, delivered in Edmunds Ballroom, Jones charged Pomona students and their generation with solving the problems facing humanity in this century--ecological and economic, here in the United States and the world. He pointed out that the current generation is not just the largest generation in U.S. history, but also the most diverse and technologically savvy. Jones said, "Your capacity to solve the world’s problems is almost boundless.... The challenge we have is you use these technologies as toys, not tools."

He inspired the audience by reminding them that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was just 24 when he helped organize the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., and 34 when he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech. He told the audience: "The minute you realize that the people in my generation and above are doing just about everything with our positions of authority but solving your problems, the minute you you stand up, like you stood up in 2008, and make history with literally just your feet marching into voting booths, the minute you stand back up again, we’re going to have a different country. And it’s critical you understand this."

For more information on Van Jones, please visit our press release for the event.