Color of Change
Color of Change (also known as ColorOfChange) seeks to “strengthen Black America’s political voice,” largely through the use of the Internet. In practice, however, the group does little more than take advantage of racially sensitive events, often tragic ones, in order to spread its progressive political agenda.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area in 2005, government response and relief efforts were heavily criticized. Color of Change was founded in the aftermath to provide relief for the hurricane victims. The group did not fully accomplish one of its primary goals: congressional action to create satellite voting locations for displaced hurricane evacuees. As they indicated in their first Form 990 tax return: “We didn’t get what we wanted.” However, its founders, Van Jones and James Rucker, were propelled into the national spotlight. With this early attention, Jones and Rucker realized that Color of Change could potentially serve as a vehicle to advance their agendas and the agendas of their funders.
Color of Change has strong ties and various partnerships with the Services Employees International Union (SEIU), as well as with the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN was composed of radical activists implicated in election fraud investigations.
Through the years, Color of Change has received considerable funding from groups controlled by George Soros, the billionaire best known for backing left-wing nonprofit groups. Since 2009, Soros’ Open Society Foundation (OSF) has given $550,000 to Color of Change and its parent organization, Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL). Among other recipients of donations from Soros are ACORN, People for the American Way, and MoveOn.org, where James Rucker previously served as Director of Grassroots Mobilization. Color of Change has had numerous campaign partnerships and close ties with MoveOn.org.
Color of Change “partners” with, and is a project of CEL. CEL directs a number of other projects that could be considered carbon copies of Color of Change—most of these projects seek to engage and mobilize minority citizens to expand their political voice generally through the use of the internet. Similar to Color of Change, these organizations masquerade as champions of suppressed and disadvantaged individuals in order to advance their progressive political agenda.
Effectively, Soros and other billionaires are able to funnel their millions of dollars in donations into MoveOn.org, CEL, and ultimately Color of Change to rally left-wing supporters to vote.
Co-founder Van Jones’ past experiences create a timeline that paints a vivid picture of a man determined to advance his far-left agenda.
September 11 “Truther:” In 2004, Jones’ name was included on the infamous 911truth.org petition. Members of the “Truther” movement implicitly accuse the Bush administration of being culpable (at best) and responsible (at worst) for the horrific September 11th terrorist attacks on America. The 911truth.org petition was widely discredited by the mainstream media and by most Americans. Amid controversy years later, Van Jones tried to distance himself from the group; this statement was published by 911truth.org on September 11, 2009:
Following recent media-generated controversy over Obama appointee Van Jones’ signature on this Statement, he and two other signatories have requested their names be removed. That has been done.
Extremist Roots: Jones planned on moving to Washington D.C. after graduating from law school, but he had a change of heart after serving time in jail in 1992 as a result of mass arrests during a San Francisco rally spurred by the Rodney King verdict. In 2007, Jones reflected on his arrest and wrote on the Huffington Post: “The event…accelerated my political radicalization.” While in jail, according to the East Bay Express, Jones said “I met all these young radical people of color—I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’”
Van Jones decided not to move to D.C., but instead to stay in San Francisco: “I spent the next ten years of my life working with a lot of those people I met in jail, trying to be a revolutionary.” And in 1994, Jones helped form the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM). According to the East Bay Express, this “socialist collective…held study groups on the theories of Marx and Lenin and dreamed of a multiracial socialist utopia.”
In 1996, Jones started his own organization, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. In 2005, according to the East Bay Express, Van Jones would reflect and describe how the Rodney King events shaped his philosophy: “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28, and then the [Rodney King] verdicts came down on April 29… By August [of 1992], I was a communist.” It’s this philosophical foundation that Van Jones would incorporate into the creation of Color of Change.
Partisan attacks: In a speech in 2009, Jones called Republicans “assholes” when referring to a legislative battle between the GOP and Democrats in the Senate. In the same year, Jones called former President George W. Bush a “crackhead” for his strategy on foreign oil, and crudely impersonated Bush as a drug addict.
Green Jobs Czar: In March 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Jones to the White House Council on Environmental Quality as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Over the next few months, many of Jones’ problematic previous involvements with radical organizations and philosophical alignments would come to light. After only six months serving as “Green Jobs Czar,” Jones would be forced to resign amid controversy. According to POLITICO, White House officials acknowledged that Jones was not given the same close inspection prior to appointment that higher Cabinet officials receive.
In the fallout of Jones’ resignation, Color of Change has seemed to publicly distance itself from his radicalism. When questioned about Jones, current leaders of Color of Change point out that he has not been directly involved with the organization in a couple of years. However, Rucker has had continued involvement in Jones’ current organization, Green for All, and has been listed on recent tax forms as the organization’s treasurer. Jones founded Green for All in 2008 and is currently Senior Policy Analyst for the organization.
In 2011, Color of Change launched a campaign against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is an association of state lawmakers and members of the private sector that work together in finding opportunities to advance free market principles and limited government. Color of Change targeted ALEC for its stance on protecting election integrity through Voter ID laws. The same task force focused on issues of overcriminalization and discouraged harsher sentencing laws.
A few months later, following the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Color of Change recognized an opportunity to piggyback on the media spotlight to push its agenda. Color of Change expanded the scope of its campaign against ALEC by attacking its support of Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law, which was a key part of the national debate regarding the shooting.
By capitalizing on the media outcry over Martin’s shooting, Color of Change increased public pressure on groups that funded ALEC. Through this strategy, Color of Change was able to bully numerous members of ALEC to withdraw their financial support from the organization.
However, ALEC did not support Florida’s Stand your Ground legislation while it was going through the legislature. According to Florida state Senator David Simmons in public testimony before the state’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, it was not until after the bill was enacted and the law took effect that ALEC supported it. Color of Change masqueraded as a champion and advocate for Trayvon Martin, but its underlying motivation was to wage a more effective attack on ALEC.
ALEC has since refocused its goals and eliminated the task force that concentrated on these issues. Nonetheless, Color of Change has continued its campaign against ALEC supporters, exploiting the Martin tragedy to advance its radical agenda.