ACE Blog

Wal-Mart, communities of color, and cause-related marketing

August 1, 2008

All too often, Wal-Mart works against community interests and vision in search of profits

ACE recently received an unsolicited email from Wal-Mart commending our work. It said that "REEP is a wonderful program" and that Wal-Mart appreciates the connections REEP makes between environmental sustainability and education. It's always rewarding when REEP is recognized, but the praise from Walmart is a bit puzzling as our mission and vision contradict Wal-Mart's business practices. We believe that sustainable neighborhoods involve fair wages, local ownership of businesses, and community investment - not discrimination, political strong-arming, and anti-unionism. Read more...

Housing advocates rally to end evictions

July 30, 2008

ACE member Michelle McGruder at Paula Taylor's eviction blockade

Yesterday, City Life/Vida Urbana and partners rallied at the State House in support of three bills that could help end the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts. The three bills would place a temporary moratorium on foreclosures, require just cause for all evictions and require judicial review of foreclosures.

Supporters held up cardboard keys, representing the 30,000 homes in foreclosure across the Commonwealth. One key was painted black in memory of Carlene Balderrama, a Taunton woman who committed suicide when faced with foreclosure.

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, CLVU Tenant Organizer Soledad Lawrence, and Roxbury resident Paula Taylor, whose home was successfully defended from a post-foreclosure eviction all spoke in favor of the legislation. Ralliers then visited legislators and urged them to support the bills. They also presented lawmakers with a key as a reminder that many people are at risk of losing their homes. Read more...

In Memoriam: Kelvin Lara, youth organizer

July 28, 2008

Our hearts go out to partner organization and neighbor Project Hip Hop (PHH), who has recently lost a member of their youth group. In moments like these, the youth violence epidemic touches us all personally. REEP continues the campaign against youth violence with PHH in coalition with the United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston. Kelvin Lara, you will be remembered.

Kelvin Patricio Lara, May 16, 1990 - July 12, 2008

Kelvin Patricio Lara
May 16, 1990 - July 12, 2008

By Carmen Ruiz

Kelvin was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and lived on Blue Hill Avenue for most of his life. Kelvin had a great passion for his opinions and the values he believed in. With his charming personality and great sense of humor, Kelvin touched the lives of those who were fortunate enough to be around him.

During his high school years Kelvin gained much popularity. With his good looks and good heart he gained the love of his girlfriend Soukaina. Many late nights he would play his love songs and think about her. Kelvin would always sit outside or ride bikes with Angel and their friends talking and laughing about life. Johnny, Jamerson, and Kelvin would stay up late playing videogames, and arguments would always come up about music and sports. Showcasing his enthusiasm for the home teams, Kelvin predicted championships for both the Celtics and Red Sox when others around him doubted. And if Kelvin wasn't hanging outside with his friends, playing NFL Madden, or spending time with his girlfriend, he would play with and help take care with his nieces Alexia and Liliana, and also visit various family members. Read more...

You're invited to the Environmental Justice Youth Summit

July 25, 2008

12th Annual Environmental Justice Youth Summit, August 1, 2008

Next Friday, REEP will host our Twelfth Annual Environmental Justice Youth Summit. Mishon Brown, REEP Organizer and Youth Summit Coordinator, is expecting one of the best turnouts ever. Themed "Resolution for Conflict and Drama in the Heart of the City," this gathering focuses on positive change and aims to connect young people with campaigns on issues affecting youth.

The summit will include workshops as well as spoken word, dance and music. Workshops will continue building dialogue among youth, covering topics such as violence, money, stereotypes, teen relationships and green jobs. Browne hopes that the conversations "will get people to open up and realize what is going on." Read more...

Stopping diesel air pollution, one bill at a time

July 23, 2008

Diesel pollution contains damaging particulate matter that can be absorbed by your body

Today, REEP youth joined forces with the Spanish American Union in Springfield, Chelsea Green Space and the Massachusetts Diesel Pollution Solution Coalition for a diesel lobby day. We handed out information packets and talked to receptionists, aides and state representatives, asking for support of the diesel pollution prevention amendment to the Environmental Bond Bill, otherwise known as the Diesel Bill. The bill could come to a vote as soon as this evening.

The amendment, sponsored by Representative Coakley-Rivera, would require all state contracted heavy duty and garbage/recycling vehicles that run on diesel to install the best available retrofit technology over the next three years. This technology could reduce air pollution up to 90 percent. The bill would also establish a Diesel Emissions Reduction Funding Program to help fund the installation of retrofit technology in diesel-powered fleets. Read more...

State House to decide on same-day voter registration

July 22, 2008

According to the Boston Phoenix, voter turnout in Massachusetts is "depressingly low," ranking only 21st in the nation. But does this mean residents are apathetic or are other issues at play?

ACE is a MassVOTE voter registration site

Local community groups, including MassVOTE, a non-partisan voting rights organization, believe that by making it easier and more convenient to register voters at the polls, Massachusetts voting numbers could go up by as many as 225,000 people. Same-day voter registration would increase turnout during what many are calling the most important and hotly debated election in recent memory.

Proposed legislation on same-day registration was scheduled for a vote last Thursday, but a small number of senators used parliamentary procedures to stall the bill. Now the Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on it this week. The legislation would allow new voters and those who have changed addresses to register to vote on Election Day and to have the new system in place in time for the fall presidential election. Read more...

Working against gentrification in Roxbury

July 21, 2008

Stop Robbing OUR 'Hood

As part of the Radical Organizing Conference Summer Institute last Wednesday, ACE hosted a workshop on gentrification called "Stop Robbing Our ‘Hood." Led by T-Riders Union Chair and ACE board member Lisa Sadika Edwards, the workshop covered development issues in Roxbury.

The session began with a discussion of gentrification and its impact in the community. Gentrification occurs when money is invested to improve a neighborhood, ultimately raising the cost of housing. This displaces lower income people, frequently people of color, and allows wealthier folks to move in. The result is a catch 22 where residents who work to revitalize a neighborhood may eventually be priced out of living there. Read more...

TRU Rider's Rights Guide now online

July 18, 2008

Bus 116

In its efforts to improve customer service, the T encourages riders to "Write to the Top" to report any service that is not courteous, clean, accessible, or dependable. Yet these customer service improvements have not been adequately focused on bus riders. It took the T until April to start displaying bus operator numbers on buses' LED information screens, and information to contact bus superintendents is buried in the T's website. So we put together our own guide to submit complaints (or commendations) for specific bus routes. Click here to view TRU's Rider's Rights Guide. Read more...

Silver Line Phase III plowing ahead

July 17, 2008

Preliminary boring along Boylston Street has started for Silver Line Phase III. Our friends at Switchback have posted an article on some of Phase III's serious flaws. They summarize,

Construction begins in Chinatown for Silver Line Phase III

"What do we get with the current Silver Line scam? Less capacity, less comfort for more money than a rail line. Oh, and a few buildings might be put in danger, as well."

The proposed tunnel project will cost more than light rail service, require the destruction of historic buildings for tunnel portals, disrupt traffic, and could jeopardize the structural integrity of structures in Chinatown and Downtown Boston. ACE and our partners, including On the Move and the Washington Street Corridor Coalition, are advocating for light rail service that would use existing tunnels leading from Boylston Street. This alternative would cost less and provide service "equal to or better than" the Orange Line Elevated Train, as the MBTA has promised to provide. Read more...