ACE Blog

EJ Awardee Spotlight: Grow or Die Gardeners

May 10, 2016

When REEP launched our Grow or Die campaign in October of 2011, we envisioned thriving community gardens with healthy, affordable food in place of vacant lots in our neighborhoods. Today, over 100 families grow thousands of pounds of fresh, organic produce across Roxbury and Dorchester. We are thankful for the work of all the gardeners who have grown food over the past four seasons and especially want to recognize Altha Henderson of the Dudley Garden (photo: top right) and Teresa Senices of the Geneva Garden (photo: bottom left), whose leadership and enthusiasm for food justice helped to shape and expand the campaign.

“It feels so good to shop for free. We are growing tomatoes – we love tomatoes – and greens. The stuff that we grow, we eat,” said Altha. “We’re enjoying it.”

Altha and Teresa were with us from the beginning. Both took the initiative to garner support for the gardens, coordinating planting days and upgrades, and ensuring that neighbors made the most out of each raised bed. Altha and Teresa brought in neighbors to form a community committed to environmental justice and, with REEP youth organizers, got our first gardens up and running.

“I like to grow my own vegetables – to grow my own food for my family,” said Teresa. “I’ve met new people at the garden.”

Our community gardens provide more than affordable produce. Each garden is a bulwark against displacement, planting a community stake in land that holds back destabilizing and speculative development. This work would not have been possible without the dedication of neighbors like Altha and Teresa. Thank you for all you do for food justice in our community!

EJ Awardee Spotlight: Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network

May 10, 2016

While Boston continues to grapple with rampant gentrification and economic inequality, community groups have come together to stabilize our neighborhoods. The Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network, led by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), formed to champion community control of land and protect low-income households from displacement through land trusts (CLTs).

“Momentum for this network has been building since the end of the foreclosure crisis as we started to think about how to prevent mass displacement on that level from happening again,” said Eliza Parad, Community Organizer at DSNI. “Land trusts are a way to plan for future generations to make sure that the work we do now to reclaim land and housing keeps low-income and working class families in Boston permanently.”

EJ Awardee Spotlight: Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project

May 10, 2016

In 2014, the Equity, Public Transit & Health Access Project launched to explore the intersection of health and transit justice. The Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (SJPHC), On the Move (OTM) and ACE came together with Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) and the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. (CCHERS) to educate providers, gather data and take action.

"The transit justice collaboration with ACE was transformative for our Health Center. Our partnership opened a new space to combine organizing, public health, racial justice language and values that was powerful and shared," said Abigail Ortiz, Director of Community Health Programs at the SJPHC. "Focusing the goals of the project on the extensive transit organizing done by ACE and its members, rather than re-creating new ones, gave our health center clarity about how we can be most effective in placing our patients' realities at the center of our health equity policy work."

The project collected surveys from over 1,300 patients on how public transportation affects their access to health. The survey found that over 60 percent of respondents had missed a health care appointment due to the MBTA. The findings also showed that people of color are disproportionately impacted by the MBTA’s failures, an issue that is compounded by displacement.

The fight for just and affordable housing continues!

April 15, 2016

In March, we joined with our partners in Right to the City - Boston to stop the eviction of a family in Dudley Square by a management group that has been using massive rent increases to remove long-time tenants.

ACE members and supporters gathered in front of 9-15 Ruggles Street where Felicha Young and her family have been fighting a no-fault eviction served by Advanced Property Management (APM). With strong organizing by City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) and legal representation from Greater Boston Legal Services, Felicha won an extension in court to stay in her home.

Despite Felicha being a reliable tenant for more than 16 years, APM and The Mayo Group want to force her out to renovate the building for much higher rents. APM has refused to negotiate even when residents were open to reasonable increases, resulting in 10 of the building's 15 families being pushed into Boston's increasingly expensive housing market, with eviction threats hanging over the rest.

Congrats to our EJ Awardees!

April 15, 2016

As part of our annual celebration, Jammin' for Justice, we recognize people and groups for outstanding work that furthers environmental justice. We are happy to announce the recipients of our 2016 EJ Awards. Congratulations to:

We look forward to sharing their work with you at Jammin' on Monday, May 23 at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.

Run a 5K for EJ!

April 15, 2016

Join us for a family-friendly run to raise funds for ACE and Boston Climate Action Network (BCAN). The 5K run begins at 9:00 a.m. with a kids' run and family walk at 9:30 a.m. The run will not be timed. Costumes are welcome!

Saturday, April 23, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 5K
9:30 a.m. - Kids run/family walk

Jamaica Pond Boathouse
507 Jamaicaway
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Register today: $28 per person in advance, $33 at the event. Youth 12 and under are free.

Thank you to Sazama Real Estate for hosting the event. If you are interested in co-sponsoring or donating, please contact Samantha.

Help us kick off the gardening season

April 15, 2016

It's time to get our gardens ready for planting! We have two opportunities this month to plug into our Grow or Die campaign and see how youth and residents have transformed vacant lots into thriving community gardens.

Magnolia Street Garden Clean-Up
Saturday, April 16, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Intersection of Magnolia Street and Woodford Street
Dorchester, MA 02125

Ellington Street Garden Clean-Up
Saturday, April 30, 2016
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

104 Ellington Street
Dorchester, MA 02121

#FightTheHike Accountability Action on Monday

March 7, 2016

It's all come down to this: On Monday, March 7, the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) will be voting on whether to increase fares. 

Please join us at 1:00 p.m. at the Transportation Building to hold the FMCB accountable!

These hikes will disproportionately hurt youth, seniors, people of color and low-income riders. Student and Youth Passes could be raised as much as 23.1 percent, bus passes 19.5 percent and THE RIDE and senior fares 10.3 percent.

Compare these to the average raise on the commuter rail - a service that predominately services wealthier suburban communities - from 3.9 percent in the MBTA's lower proposal to 6.3 percent in the higher proposal (some hikes as low as zero percent in both scenarios).

Hearing on Just Cause Eviction coming up

March 7, 2016

Join us on Monday, March 14, at 4:00 p.m. at City Hall to prevent the displacement of low-income families from our neighborhoods. City councilors will be discussing our Just Cause Eviction policy and we need your support to show the importance of these tenant protections.

With Right to the City - Boston, we held a city-wide assembly and march, received recognition from Mayor Marty Walsh and support from several city councilors, and stood with neighbors facing no-fault evictions in our community. Now, it's time to come out and ask our elected officials to defend our right to remain.

#FightTheHike: Championship Round

February 26, 2016

We need your support to save the MBTA and keep fares and passes affordable for riders. In the next two weeks, the entity tasked with overseeing the T, the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), will be discussing and voting on proposals to raise fares by 6.71 and 9.77 percent, and monthly passes by as much as 23.1 percent.