ACE Blog

Fix MBTA funding! An open letter from TRU

August 5, 2009

An open letter to Senator Stephen Baddour, Representative Joseph Wagner, Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi, Jr., the MBTA Board of Directors, and MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas

Dear Leaders:

Taisha at a rally to bail out T riders

I am writing on behalf of the T Riders Union (TRU), a program of the nearly 700-member organization, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). We are also a member of the On the Move (OTM) Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition. TRU works with riders directly, many of whom are bus riders in two committees: in East Boston/Chelsea and in Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan. We believe in a public transit system that serves all riders equally. Now is a critical time in the Commonwealth to work together to achieve a more affordable, accountable, accessible, reliable, green and sustainable MBTA.

Recent media attention has exposed the differences between Secretary Aloisi and General Manager Grabauskas. This has caught the attention of the MBTA board, Senator Baddour, and others. TRU believes we need to refocus our attention on the real issue; bailing the T out of its debt so that riders won’t have to suffer the unfair burden of the Big Dig anymore. Read more...

Represent EJ neighborhoods to the United Nations

July 9, 2009

Photo courtesy of Word Wide Views on Global Warming

In November, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark and discuss global climate policy to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol.

UN representatives are incorporating citizens input by holding the first-ever global deliberation on international policy, a series of events called World Wide Views on Global Warming. At these unique conferences, citizens from 46 countries will meet to discuss how climate change affects their region. Facilitators will report back to the United Nations with the results from these meetings.

One hundred residents from Greater Boston will be selected to represent this region, and eligible applicants will receive a stipend for participating. The form is easy to fill out (mostly check boxes) and is open to anyone 18 and over. Read more...

ACE staffer joins state Climate Change Committee

June 18, 2009

ACE Legal Counsel Eugene Benson and ACE member and Chelsea Green Space Director Roseann Bongiovanni were recently appointed to the state’s Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee by Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles.

 Kirshen et al., 2007. Coastal Flooding in the Northeastern United States due to Climate Change

The Committee is required by the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act to submit a report to the legislature by December 2009 on strategies to prepare for rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, increased floods and droughts and other predicted impacts from climate change. Roseann and Gene both serve on the Health and Human Welfare Subcommittee. Read more...

YouthShines Art Auction coming up!

May 27, 2009

Bid on pieces by youth artists to support the Youth Workers Alliance!

On June 3, the South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers Alliance (YWA) will host its annual fundraiser, the YouthShines! Art Auction, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Ben Franklin Institute at 41 Berkeley Street in Boston. The Art Auction is a chance for Boston child and teen artists to show their masterpieces and raise funds for youth work. The event will have snacks and an open bar, a silent auction and a live auction hosted by David Brown of WCVB-TV. Read more...

Congratulations to Michelle McGruder

May 23, 2009

Today, we'd like to share with you the final recipient of ACE's 2009 Environmental Justice Awards. Thanks for your hard work Michelle!

Environmental Justice Award 2009
Michelle McGruder

As an organizer, advocate and caring mother, Michelle has led the T Riders Union (TRU) with much knowledge and insight. Her dedication to fighting racism, classism and oppression has taken her from schools to the T to the streets in our communities.

Michelle's passion for outreach means she has a relationship with just about everyone in Dudley Square, helping to connect ACE's organizing work to our base.

Michelle has been involved with ACE for many years, starting with transit issues and the Healthy Hair Show in the late '90s. In 2008, she successfully applied for the TRU Member Internship Position, supporting our work for an affordable and sustainable public transit system. Michelle completed the 300 hour program, during which time she assumed the TRU Chairperson role, serving in this capacity for almost ten months.

Congratulations to Ian Phillips, LSP

May 21, 2009

Last night, hundreds of ACE supporters celebrated with us at Jammin' for Justice 2009. Thank you to everyone for helping to make the event a great success! We'll share photos soon; in the meantime, congrats to Ian for receiving an EJ Award!

Ian Phillips, LSP wins 2009 Environmental Justice Award

Environmental Justice Award 2009
Ian Phillips, LSP

Ian is a “go to” environmental expert for ACE. He is a chemist and as a Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional, he is certified by the state as an expert on environmental clean-ups.

Ian is one of over 50 environmental technical experts who work pro bono for neighborhood groups who come to ACE for help with environmental issues. A Principal Scientist at Roux Associates in Burlington with over 20 years of experience, he is always available to answer questions and make recommendations.

As a member of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN), Ian has volunteered his skills to neighborhood groups grappling with complex issues. In South Boston, he helped Neighborhood First! deal with a potential clean-up of a former power station owned by the MBTA. Read more...

Congratulations to Brockton and West Bridgewater residents

May 17, 2008

ACE’s annual celebration and fundraiser, Jammin' for Justice, is this Wednesday, May 20. Members and supporters will be sharing our 15th Anniversary with delicious food, a live band, silent auction and many projects on display. This is our opportunity to also showcase our members’ outstanding environmental justice work over the last year. In the next few days we will be highlighting our 2009 honorees. Today’s selected honoree is Brockton and West Bridgewater Residents Against the Power Plant.

An Energy Facilities Siting Board hearing on the power plant last summer

In November 2007, residents of West Bridgewater asked ACE for assistance fighting a proposed fossil fuel burning power plant in nearby Brockton. Residents of Brockton also contacted ACE for assistance against the power plant.

After meeting with ACE, the two groups agreed to work together, with ACE providing legal advice and representation to the residents.

Since then, the residents and their allies have organized their communities, creating an active and vocal opposition to the power plant. They helped persuade the Mayor of Brockton, almost all the Brockton City Council, and their state senator and representatives to oppose the power plant. Read more...

New bus service, but still not rapid transit

Silver Line bus Mattapan expansion plan, photo courtesy EOT

May 4, 2009

The Patrick administration announced today in Dudley Square that it was providing stimulus funds for extensions of the Silver Line bus to Mattapan and South Station.

The T Riders Union and our partners in On the Move believe that using stimulus funds for better public transit is essential and improving transit in our communities is a vital investment.

It is also important for residents to have input in those plans. We are calling for the appointment of a community advisory board to work with the administration on implementing transportation improvements in our communities.

We are also asking the Governor to invest in a plan to bring real rapid transit – rail service - to our communities.

13 Lessons I learned at ACE

April 30, 2009

What a busy couple of months it's been! There has been a lot of work going on at ACE that we'll update you on soon. In the meantime, here are some wise words for you to enjoy, adapted from a speech our previous Director Penn Loh gave at his farewell party on March 4.

Penn receiving his 'professor gear' gag gift at the farewell party

. . . . .

13 Lessons I learned at ACE

by Penn Loh

On January 22, 1996 I started my journey at ACE, as our fifth staff person.

As Research and Development Director, I was the first dedicated fundraising staff with half of my time spent on grantwriting and donor fundraising, while the other half was spent supporting all the programs with technical and research assistance.

When our co-founders stepped down in 1998 and hired a new Executive Director, I became the Associate Director. Then, at the end of 1999, I was appointed Director. Read more...