This is a guest post by Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All. See the video of her stirring presentation on engaging community at Tides Momentum 2009 Leadership Conference.
On October 2, something special is going to happen. Everyday Americans from all walks of life will come together to take a step past the divisiveness that has plagued our country and towards a tomorrow built on a shared vision of prosperity. It is the One Nation Working Together march, and I hope you will be a part of it. Tides is the fiscal sponsor for One Nation Working Together providing it with operational infrastructure services.
I will be at the march with my organization, Green For All. Our mission is to create the job opportunities that the entire country is clamoring for. We want everyone to have the chance not only to work, but to work at a well paid, high-quality job that is healthy for workers, for communities, and for the planet.
For too long, American parents have been stuck choosing between unhealthy jobs that put food on the table on the one hand and a life free of both pollution and employment on the other. In America, in 2010, no one should have to make that choice.
To leave such no-win situations behind us, we must find a way forward that improves the lives of ALL working Americans, from the white coal miner in West Virginia to the single Latina mother in South Central Los Angeles. That is why the One Nation Working Together march is such a great opportunity. Hundreds of thousands of people will bear testament to the fact that we have more in common than we have setting us apart.
Together, we will call for three of the most basic things that every working family needs and deserves: work, education, and a fair shake.
First, it’s time to put America back to work. Providing relief and opportunity for those Americans struggling to find family-supporting employment is essential. Second, it’s time to provide a quality, affordable public education for every American child. A good education is a key to life success; every parent deserves the chance to provide one for his or her child. Third, it is time to reinvigorate our commitment to the most basic American principle: that all are created equal, with certain inalienable rights. Low-income communities, communities of color, and other vulnerable communities need to have full and equal access to the opportunities of today and tomorrow.
Good, green jobs are a part of this vision. But they are only one part. At Green For All, we know that all of our fates are bound together, and that the only way for us all to do well is to lift each other up. When we go to Washington on October 2, it will not be just as a leading national green jobs organization. It will be as one nation, working together.
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the CEO of Green For All, a national organization working to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.