Kerouac’s Grandmother Hits the Road

by Jan Roberts

I wonder if, somehow, I could be Kerouac’s grandmother. I love hitting the road and meeting diverse, interesting people. Only in my case, unlike my could-be grandson, I do not seek out Beatniks, but Trailblazers, who are creating systemic solutions to social, economic and environmental problems.

I thought my road trip in 2014 was my epic one. I surprised even myself that I stuck to it. But of course, then I was younger…only 76 years old. I video interviewed 51 change-makers all around the US—artists, economists, educators, community organizers. I came home so filled with optimism and hope for our future after covering 13,026 miles on a 67-day odyssey.

But here I am, now 81 years old, and I realize that we need more than optimism and hope if we are going to make the changes necessary for a better future for us and our planet. We need to know how these people persisted despite obstacles; how they got the resources they needed; basically, how they made these amazing enterprises happen.

We need to know this if these initiatives are going to spread — and they must spread for the sake of all of us.

So, I am hitting the road again, this time at the ripe, very ripe, old age of 81. But this time I am delving deeply into what is closest to my heart–economic equality and care-taking of our planet. . I’m so frustrated seeing folks who work hard but never seem to get ahead. I’m scared about the damage we have done to our Earth home and dwindling time we have to mitigate that damage. Enough is enough!!

My own parents struggled. They were immigrants who worked hard. Mom cleaned homes and Dad was a machinist, who worked on movie projectors in NYC. He got up before dawn six days a week to commute from our home on Long Island. I remember the struggles to make ends meet especially during the difficult time when dad’s surgery kept him from working.

Working/middle class people of all colors are struggling financially despite working hard. They are not getting their fair share.

AND If you do believe this economy is working for most of us, I’ll willing to bet you still believe in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

The International Panel on Climate Change told us that we have only 12 years to fix the damage we have done to our Earth home. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it all when he told us about the “urgency of now!” We have got to take action!!!

A New Economy movement is restructuring the economy to put people and planet first. It has been happening under the radar of mainstream media and public awareness for years and is now ready for Prime Time. You will be surprised by its power.

On this road trip you’ll meet the New Economy trailblazers, hear their stories of how they triumphed over obstacles and how they achieved their ground breaking successes.

In Cleveland, former felons are worker owners of industrial size cooperatives that have captured the purchasing power of major corporations like hospitals and universities. The employee owners not only have good livelihoods, they share in the profits, have great benefits and have a voice in how the businesses are run.

In Seattle, you’ll meet the folks who are changing how Washington State measures its economic success. Most states use the Gross Domestic Product, the GDP, which goes up when money is spent for goods and services – including things like the massive clean-up costs of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico …..that’s fuckin’ crazy….that’s like me saying that smashing up my car is good for my household economy.

Washington State uses a system that also values things like the worth of care-taking in the home and clean rivers. Why is this important? Because when we count something we focus on it….think counting your steps for Fit Bit…and when we focus on something, we make changes and so Washington State is creating policies that improve the well-being of people and the planet.

Do you know that the citizens of North Dakota own a state bank that has assets of over $7 Billion, puts $30 to 50 Million a year in the state budget and has made over $6 Billion in low cost loans that benefit the citizens and their communities? This public banking idea is taking off across the country and you’ll meet the folks who are making it happen in California.

It’s critical that the stories of the New Economy’s powerful successes be known so they can be replicated—for all our sakes, and for that of our families, future generations and the planet, itself. That’s why I am making this road trip and working with filmmaker Indya Kristensen to document this New Economy. We are producing a film that will inspire, entertain and educate you about economic successes that are happening now. It will knock your socks off!