Van Jones is a CNN political commentator, regularly appearing across the network’s programming and special political coverage.
Jones is a Yale-educated attorney. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008) and Rebuild the Dream (2012). The second book chronicles his journey as an environmental and human rights activist to becoming a White House policy advisor. He was the main advocate for the Green Jobs Act. Signed into law by George W. Bush in 2007, the Green Jobs Act was the first piece of federal legislation to codify the term “green jobs.” During the Obama Administration, the legislation has resulted in $500 million in national funding for green jobs training.
In 2009, Jones worked as the green jobs advisor to President Barack Obama. In this role, Jones helped to lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Jones has been honored with numerous awards and spotlighted on several lists of high achievers, including: the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leader” designation; Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done”; TIME’s 2009 “100 Most Influential People in The World”; and the Root's 2014 "The Root 100." He is presently a fellow at the MIT Media Lab.
Van is founder of Dream Corps, Rebuild The Dream, Green For All, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Color of Change.
To book Van for a speaking engagement, please click here.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/5651/attachments/original/1467318780/00-aa-van_jones__photo.png?1467318780
Jonathan Meeks is the National Director of #YesWeCode and is responsible for overseeing our #YesWeCode national strategy. Jonathan’s strengths lie in building and leveraging sustainable strategic partnerships that will align with the #YesWeCode vision. He is experienced in managing multi-million dollar budgets, project scopes, resources and third-party vendors, while driving projects from start to finish. Additionally, Jonathan will serve as our national spokesperson for #YesWeCode.
Prior to joining #YesWeCode, Jonathan led the Partner Development team at the National Black MBA Association. While there, he served as Relationship Manager and was instrumental in cultivating relationships with Fortune 500 companies, within the Diversity and Inclusion sector, to ensure an evergreen pipeline of diverse top talent. Before joining NBMBAA, Jonathan worked in the sports industry for the following national and global brands; NASCAR, MLB, WNBA, and NFL. Jonathan also worked at two sports marketing firms (Atlanta Sports Council & Octagon).
Jonathan was born in Phoenix, Arizona and was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Georgia State University and a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from Florida International University.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/23248/attachments/original/1558453444/Meeks.jpg?1558453444
Zakiya Mackey is a third generation West Oakland native with a passion for community and social justice. Having spent more than a decade working in program and community development for Family Support Services of the Bay Area,Girls Inc.of Alameda County, and Google Code Next, Zakiya understands the young minds of today and works hard to create better programming to prepare them for the jobs of an emerging tech industry. She has also worked in media, marketing, and sales for various tech companies such asWarner Bros.,Yelp, and Lyft. Zakiya holds a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University, and is happy to bring her devotion for inclusive efforts and love of community and culture to the #YesWeCode team as Deputy Director.
When she is not fighting to create safe spaces for Black and Latinx people, Zakiya works as an independent filmmaker sharing stories of dignity, heart and change.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/23247/attachments/original/1558453225/Zakiya_Mackey_headshot.jpeg?1558453225
Faiza Farah was born to Ethiopian parents, Faiza was raised in Rome, Italy and Vancouver, Canada. She has been a proud Oakland resident for more than a decade. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Political Science major. She has 15 years of experience in the non-profit and for profit sector. The focus of her work has been rooted in community organizing through media, technology and economic equity.
She developed a media startup called Third Space Media. Third Space started as a web-series highlighting folks of color entrepreneurs and creatives who were thriving in the San Francisco Bay Area despite displacement and gentrification. It has grown into a media company focused on impacting culture and disrupting the status quo.
As a Black Muslim woman, Faiza is keenly aware of lack of representation and misrepresentation of marginalized groups in the media and technology and how it affects the way those groups are perceived. She has made it her mission to center the voices of folks that have marginalized from conventional media and technology.
When Faiza is not doing all of that, she is traveling the world and cooking Ethiopian food for her friends and family.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22852/attachments/original/1534448543/8.16.2018_Faiza_Farah_photo.jpg?1534448543
Victoria Costa is an energetic and multi-faceted creative with a background in project management, content strategy and frontend development. She has added her management perspective, curriculum experience, coding skills, design aesthetic, and sense of humor to a wide range of interactive learning experiences around the world, including university courses, multimedia installations, curriculum guides and educational programs for young and adult learners. She has a collaborative work ethic, which envisions a cooperative future, and has over ten years of experience working with solopreneurs, small organizations, nonprofits, universities, international NGOs and corporations customizing products and implementing great lessons about cultural diversity, social justice, environmental ethics, food heritage and technology.
Victoria lives in NYC with her wife, an assistant professor of Anthropology at CUNY. Together, they co-founded Cool Anthropology, a grant-funded international collective that translates rigorous academic research for popular consumption, breaking down the closed circuits of the academy with interactive media, digital outreach, and a whole lot of hustle. Projects include Shifting Stereotypes, The Road of Development, Embodying Ecological Heritage, Maya Deer Dance, and Producing Cool Anthropology, an edited volume (forthcoming). They have 1 son, a budding composer pursuing a dual degree in studio composition and media studies at SUNY Purchase.
She believes we need to use our hands in initiatives within our own communities, and encourages her friends and neighbors to volunteer on projects they find vital to meet the needs of those most vulnerable amongst us. She serves on the board of her CSA, where she helps cut the millionaires out of the food chain, and volunteers with seniors at her local community center. She also lends her hands and resources to indigenous communities in South Dakota, Belize, Guatemala and Peru.
As a daughter of a Cuban immigrant and a queer woman with no degrees or certifications, Victoria’s self-lead learning and professional trajectory has embodied the #YesWeCode spirit, and she is proud to serve its mission to reward grit, ambition and talent with pathways to success and self-determination.https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/rebuildthedream/pages/22870/attachments/original/1536100733/image1.jpeg?1536100733