Alice Wright, Daily Mail, August 19, 2023
CNN commentator Van Jones has been pushed out of his own non-profit after a bust up in the senior ranks.
Jones was praised as an extraordinary leader and handed $100 million by Jeff Bezos for his philanthropic endeavors in 2021, but now faces the humiliation of being turned out of his own organization.
The liberal left the board of Dream.org after a blowout with senior leadership, the Daily Beast reported.
The fallout stemmed from disagreements over the non-profits direction, multiple sources with ties to the organization told the outlet. Jones was forced out rather than leaving voluntarily the sources claimed.
It is not clear who the conflicts have been with but neither the board chair Jamie Lunder nor CEO Nisha Anand have made public statements following the reports.
A subsidiary of Dream.org is also reportedly laying off staff despite Bezos’ climate fund – a separate three-year, $10 million grant in 2020.
Several ex-employees said the group blew through the money with little to show for it, and Bezos’ nonprofit has not renewed the grant.
‘Quite a few people have questions about the fiscal stewardship that Dream.org has had,’ CeCe Grant, Dream’s former director of government affairs said.
A spokesman for Jones did not deny he had been ousted from the board but said: ‘Van continues to work within the justice innovation space and beyond.
‘He is a proud supporter of their work at every level. With Dream.org’s support, he is working to launch a new, complementary initiative, which will be announced soon.’
A spokesman for Dream said Jones stopped running day-to-day affairs in 2019 but ‘has continued to be a valuable resource for us, and we’re excited to support the launch of his forthcoming initiative.’
Jones, 54, is a star commentator for CNN and has sparked numerous controversies over the years.
Earlier this year he sparked a backlash for suggesting the cops who beat Tyre Nichols to death in Memphis in January were ‘driven by racism’ – despite them all being black.
Jones wrote in the aftermath of the incident that black people ‘are not immune’ to the effects of anti-black racism and that the narratives of police violence should never be as simple as ‘white cop kills unarmed black man.’
‘Society’s message that Black people are inferior, unworthy and dangerous is pervasive,’ Jones wrote.
‘Over many decades, numerous experiments have shown that these ideas can infiltrate Black minds as well as White. Self-hatred is a real thing.’
He said this kind of thinking might lead a black store owner to ‘regard customers of his same race with suspicion.’
‘Black people can harbor anti-Black sentiments and can act on those feelings in harmful ways,’ Jones added.
He went on to suggest that the problem is the black cops are ‘socialized’ in police departments which treat neighborhoods as ‘war zones’ and claims that the cops of all races ‘internalize’ the notion that few officers are punished for acts of brutality.
Jones co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which partly focuses on police brutality, and served as founding CEO of REFORM, which is working to reshape America’s approach to prison sentencing.