Who Gains From the Green Economy?

By Preeti Mangala Shekar and Tram Nguyen, Colorlines.

Last year, the Oakland-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, with a minuscule staff and budget, worked relentlessly to pass the Green Jobs Act in Congress-a bill that if authorized will direct $125 million to green the nation's workforce and train 35,000 people each year for "green-collar jobs." That summer, Ella Baker Center and the Oakland Alliance also secured $250,000 from the city to build the Oakland Green Jobs Corp, a training program that promises to explicitly serve what is probably the most underutilized resource of Oakland: young workingclass men and women of color.

In these efforts lay a hopeful vision-that the crises-ridden worlds of economics and environmentalism would converge to address the other huge crisis-racism in the United States. It is what some of its advocates call a potential paradigm shift that, necessitated by the earth's climate crisis, can point the way out of "gray capitalism" and into a green, more equitable economy. The engine of this model is driven by the young and proactive leadership of people of color who intend to build a different solution for communities of color...

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