The Democratic Convention was held on June 7- a beautiful, hot Saturday. I spent the whole morning shivering in the air-conditioning, listening to speeches, waiting to vote and especially waiting to see Jackie graduate from the Emerge program. (Emerge is a program to educate, support and inspire Democratic women who want to run for elected office.) Jackie and her fellow-graduates, including one other from Lowell, were recognized for their seven months of workshops and seminars they attended and for successfully completing the Emerge curriculum which includes trainings in public speaking, fundraising, media skills and networking. From what I could tell, it was a rewarding experience for all involved. By this time, we were ready to get out into the sunshine, but were literally halted in our tracks by the final speaker, Van Jones. He is a man with a message and since I had been thinking about the connection between high school dropouts and our prison population, I was particularly interested in his call for a solution to social inequality as well as environmental destruction (reminds me of one of Karla Baehr’s “twofers”). He founded an organization, Green for All to “help build an inclusive, green economy.” His slogan is “green-collar jobs, not jails.” He has had some success in building support for his mission: in 1996, he co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights which promotes alternatives to violence and incarceration; in 2007, he worked with Democratic leaders to pass the Green Jobs Act of 2007, while at the local level, he helped the City of Oakland, California create a “Green Jobs Corp.” I’ll be waiting to hear and see more of this guy!