ACE Blog

Massachusetts Environmental Justice Act H.2913 / S.426

Massachusetts Environmental Justice Act H.2913 / S.426 An Act Relative to Environmental Justice and Toxics Reduction in the Commonwealth (Reps. Vincent & Dubois / Sen. Eldridge)


Key Questions and Answers about this Bill

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice is the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of race, income, national origin or English language proficiency.

Why is this Act necessary?

We Are Hiring!

Want to join us in the Movement for Environmental Justice?

We are Hiring for a Bookkeeper / Office Manager. This critical position will be involved in making sure the day-to-day workings of the office run smoothly and support all our organizers and members in carrying out our campaigns and projects. From managing our expenses, to human resouces to office systems, this person will help make it all happen! Are you interested in filling that role?

Support a permanent Youth Pass!

June 1, 2016

The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board will be deciding the future of our Youth Pass on Monday, June 6. We need your support to make sure the program becomes permanently accessible for youth in our region!

Data from the first year of our pilot program shows what young people have been saying all along: Affordable public transportation dramatically increases access to education, work, healthcare and other activities. Participants ages 19 to 21 rode the MBTA two-thirds more with a Youth Pass, while trips by out-of-school youth ages 18 and under doubled.

These extra trips were primarily made during off-peak hours (not during rush hour), which means unused seats are getting filled without any strain on service. During the school year, the most frequent destination for participants was class, followed by work. In the summer, the number one use of the pass was to get to work, followed by errands, school, extracurricular activities like volunteering, family responsibilities and more.

Further, the program was proven affordable and effective: The pilot results show that the costs to the T are much less than anticipated and that our MBTA-city partnerships are successful at distributing the passes. Participating cities are supportive (see comments from Boston, Chelsea and Malden) and despite some concern, the program experienced no instances of fraud.

Thank you for supporting Jammin' for Justice!

June 1, 2016

We had a wonderful evening with members, partners and allies celebrating our work together for environmental justice. Your support means that this year, we will continue the fight to make the Youth Pass a permanent MBTA fare category, grow food on reclaimed land, organize with Roxbury residents for our #Right2Remain, and so much more.

Congratulations again to our 2016 EJ Awardees: Grow or Die gardeners Altha Henderson and Teresa Senices, The Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network, and the Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project. We applaud your leadership and dedication.

There's still time to donate! If you weren't able to attend Jammin' this year or if you would like to make another contribution to help us meet our goals, please give today and consider becoming a monthly donor to help sustain this work.

Thank you to our hosting team, volunteers, sponsors, and everyone who came and gave to Jammin' this year. Be sure to check out photos from the event, and thank you for all you do!

Support the continuation of our Youth Pass program!

May 11, 2016

The fate of our MBTA Youth Pass will be determined in the next few weeks. Just over 10 months ago, we held a ribbon cutting to launch our Youth Pass pilot with representatives from the cities of Boston, Chelsea, Malden and Somerville, and MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. At the time, Secretary Pollack said it was up to organizers to keep pressure on her to make this a reality.

It's now time to do just that and push for the Youth Pass to be a permanent fare category at upcoming MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) meetings. Data from the pilot shows that the program is effective and affordable, and has opened access for youth riders in need. Our municipal partners have proven to be effective administers of the program, which has had no instances of fraud.

"I have more freedom to use the T now, I'm not worried, like, Oh, I don't have money on my T Pass. I can go and use the bus and take the train because it's unlimited. So, it's really good and a big difference," said Larissa Williams, a Youth Pass pilot participant. "When you're struggling with money also, it's really helpful, so I think that it would be a good idea to keep it."

We are also asking for a 60-day extension of the Youth Pass pilot, from July 1 to August 31. This will cover the gap between the end of the pilot on June 30 to September 1, when fare vending machines will begin offering Student (and potentially Youth) Passes.

To improve the program, we need to expand the eligibility range beyond age 21 to include low-income youth up to age 25. Currently, the pilot is available to youth ages 12 to 18 without restriction and to low-income youth ages 19 to 21. Expanding the range responds to the demonstrated need cited by municipal partners and better aligns the pass with workforce and healthcare programs.

"We are asking for your support for these youth. Not saying we are all one, but united we stand, divided we fall," said Youth Pass campaign leader Trae Weekes. "We share similar challenges and one of those youth at risk of losing this opportunity may be your family, or your friend, or even you yourself."

Toxic Tour season now open!

May 11, 2016

Join us for our Toxic Tour of Dudley Square and learn about the history of environmental justice in our home neighborhood. Toxic Tours are great for students, teachers, community organizations, faith-based groups, public health professionals and anyone interested in EJ organizing.

"The electroplating factory and piles of rubble were obvious health risks to students at the nearby middle schools and daycare, yet the management of the factory and construction agency did nothing to help or warn the population...I could not believe that somebody could care so little about the safety of a large population.

The other specific moment that impacted me the most was when [ACE staff] asked us if those events outlined above could happen in the places where we live. That moment was the first time I fully realized how real environmental racism is."

                                                                                                                          --C.B., Milton Academy student

Tours usually last about two hours and we are happy to work with your group's specific needs. In exchange, we ask for a sliding scale honorarium to support this work. See more details and contact us to schedule a tour.

Preparing gardens this spring

May 11, 2016

Thank you to the amazing volunteers who helped refresh our Grow or Die community gardens for the growing season! Our Ellington garden is ready for planting and our Magnolia garden was successfully relocated thanks to dozens of folks who turned out to shovel compost, renovate raised beds and clean up from winter.

There are still opportunities to get involved! Join us on Saturday, May 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to finish our new garden design on Magnolia Street. For more information and to RSVP, contact Olmis.

Jammin' tickets & volunteer opportunities

May 11, 2016

Jammin' for Justice is just a week and a half away! We can't wait to celebrate another year of environmental justice with you on Monday, May 23, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square.

Buy your ticket today! Tickets start at $35. A "Set your own ticket price" option is available and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Already got your ticket? Get a sneak peek of our silent auction items and learn more about our EJ Awardees: Grow or Die gardeners Altha Henderson and Teresa Senices, the Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network, and the Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project.

Calling volunteers! We would love your help at Jammin' to assist with setup, welcome guests, provide logistical support and photograph the event. Also, join us for Volunteer Night on Wednesday, May 18, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. to make decorations, displays and more. To volunteer, please contact Giselle.

Can't make it? We'll miss you! You can still show your support by giving online or donating via our amazing hosts to help us continue this work for environmental justice.

Hope to see you there!

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