How far we'€™ve come

Authors: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins Just two years ago, on April 4th 2008, the green jobs movement unofficially launched in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 1,000 community leaders from across the country, nearly three quarters people of color, came together for The Dream Reborn. The conference commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 40th anniversary of his assassination, and laid the groundwork to continue his legacy through a new movement for opportunity and justice for all. Two years ago, the term "green jobs" required explanation. The overlap between the economic and environmental crises was still to be fully explored; the number of elected officials who saw the opportunity in the concept could be counted on one hand. How times have changed. In Green For All's 2009 Annual Report, we document how far our movement has come. What was considered an idealistic theory is now driving policy conversations at every level of government, and creating career opportunities for communities across America. What The Dream Reborn asserted in Memphis two years ago we reassert today: this work is the continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. If Dr. King and his peers were considering our culture and society, they'd be advocating for increased opportunity for communities of color, neighborhoods free of pollutants and heavy industry, and deeper consideration of the long-term impact we have on our planet. The struggle for equality is contingent upon a green economy and the economic opportunities it provides. Consider HOME STAR, a program Congress is currently crafting. This legislation, if passed, would quickly create thousands of jobs in construction and manufacturing by putting people to work improving residential energy efficiency. We've seen this work at the local level, as documented in the Annual Report. That it may grow to scale nationally just months after green jobs entered the political consciousness is astounding. That HOME STAR could bring thousands of families into the middle class while improving homes in their neighborhoods is a step forward for civil rights. I'm proud to lead the team at Green For All, and proud to share with you our accomplishments and vision for the future. I look forward to another year of success.

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