Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

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Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Template:TOCnestleft Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the Chief Executive Officer of Green For All and she serves on its Board of Directors, as of April 5, 2010.[1]


Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, remembers when her mother, a single mom who was occasionally on welfare and fed her two daughters with food stamps, got a union job that lifted her family out of poverty. “When you leave that reality of poverty, it is one of the most joyous feelings in the world,” she recalled, explaining why she’s devoted her career to progressive organizing. “The labor movement has been the most effective anti-poverty program in American history.”

After graduating from California State University, Northridge, Ellis-Lamkins worked for Service Employees International Union, organizing home care workers and other low-wage employees. By 2003, at 26, she became the head of the San Jose-based South Bay Labor Council, which boasts 110 unions and 110,000 members. She soon became known as the “the Robin Hood of Silicon Valley.”

Through the Labor Council and Working Partnership (a labor-community coalition that Ellis-Lamkins chaired), she worked to make sure that the area’s dot-com prosperity was widely shared. She led a successful campaign for a local living wage law, helped elect progressives to local offices, pushed local officials to include “community benefit agreements” as part of development projects and joined forces with business groups to form the nonprofit Team San Jose to operate the city’s convention center, civic auditorium and several arts venues in order to guarantee good-paying union jobs.

In 2009, Ellis-Lamkins became head of Green For All, a DC-based group that brings unions and environmentalists together to push for anti-poverty measures and a clean-energy economy. With close ties to the Obama administration, Ellis-Lamkins led the fight to include two key provisions — funds for job training and a focus on green jobs — in the House’s climate and energy bill: Under her leadership, Green For All has helped cities including Portland and Seattle implement green jobs and energy efficiency programs. While focusing on jobs, Ellis-Lamkins recognizes the additional public health burdens confronted by poor and minority communities, where the disproportionate amount of toxic waste is located and high rates of cancer, asthma and other environmental health problems have been recorded. “The racial disparity in toxic dumping continues and federal regulators have not done enough to stop it,” she said.

“Getting people to care about what happens to the planet when they are worried about dinner tonight is one of the greatest challenges we face.”[2]

Working Partnerships

Ellis-Lamkins works for Working Partnerships.[3]

World Social Forum

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, San Jose, CA, of Working Partnerships, attended the 2002 World Social Forum.[3]

UC Berkeley Labor Center

In 2009, Ellis-Lamkins served on the advisory board of UC Berkeley Labor Center.[4]

America's Future Now!

Pahedra Ellis-Lamkins spoke at the 2009[5] and 2010[6] America's Future Now! conferences. America's Future Now! is the new name for Take Back America which is the annual conference of Campaign for America's Future.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins was one of the 148 speakers who addressed the 2010 America's Future Now Conference.[7]

CPC San Francisco Jobs forum

After weeks of Republican attacks on President Obama in rural Iowa, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barbara Lee on Tuesday August 17, 2011, took to the pulpit of an African American church in Oakland to hear directly from voters and defend the president and Democrats on the most critical issue of the 2012 presidential race - jobs.

"It is a time in our country when the American people know ... that serious job creation must take place," said Pelosi, speaking to reporters before addressing a supportive crowd of hundreds at the Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland, one of California's staunchest Democratic strongholds.

Dozens filed up to mikes to tell their stories of unemployment. The session, organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was at times raucous, with some heckling or angrily chanting that it is time to "tax the rich."

Barbara Lee, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, charged that Republicans, on the 224th day of their leadership in the House, had failed to produce a jobs bill or to deliver any solid proposals.

But both Pelosi and Lee, accompanied by Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose and Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, also aimed to draw sharp contrasts between Republican and Democratic agendas on jobs.

One participant in Tuesday's forum, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, an Oakland nonprofit that works for green jobs, said clean energy has the potential to alleviate poverty by bringing high-quality jobs to urban communities. 'The green economy'

"What's most exciting about the green economy is that it offers the possibility to have manufacturing again, to actually create things ... in both the private and the public sector," she said. "And the greatest growth sector right now is clean energy."

Ellis-Lamkins drew applause when she said that, too often, the focus of politicians is "about who is in the back of the room yelling the loudest."

"What the folks in Washington, D.C., would have us do is fight each other," she said. "I want to make sure the story of tonight is that people of color need jobs ... solutions and jobs."[8]

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO Green for All, was a 2011 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[9]

"The 99% Spring"

Individuals and organizations supporting The 99% Spring, as of April 20, 2012, included Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins - Green for All .[10]

Movement Voter Project Advisory Board

Movement Voter Project Advisory Board members, as of January 24, 2018 included Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.[11]