ACE Blog

Green Jobs: How do we build this movement?

June 13, 2008

ACE is currently working with organizations in the Boston area like Community Labor United (CLU) on a campaign for local green jobs. We believe that the green revolution has major potential for training people in lower income communities and communities of color for jobs that will provide life-long skills and also make our air, water and land cleaner.

Interested in learning more? Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) youth organizers will be presenting a green jobs workshop on July 2 for youth and adults as part of the Radical Organizing Conference's Summer Institute. ACE staff Marina Spitkovskaya will be speaking in Springfield on June 25 about building a movement that serves local communities, guarantees workers’ rights to organize and promotes community-owned sustainable projects.

Recently, in conjunction with Earth Day and the 35th anniversary of their Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy Program, Tufts University hosted Van Jones, champion of the green jobs movement and founder and president of Green For All, an organization that works to build an inclusive, green economy "strong enough to lift millions of people out of poverty." Read more...

Environmental justice at the BNB Bike-A-Thon

June 12, 2008

ACE’s own Khalida Smalls gave the keynote speech at the Bikes not Bombs Green Roots Festival this past Sunday, June 8. Guests enjoyed many events, from green building workshops to live music and scavenger hunts. Bikes Not Bombs, a Boston-based non-profit organization, promotes youth leadership and bicycle recycling over war and environmental destruction.

Participants at the Bike-A-Thon, including our littlest TRU member (center)

An ACE staff member for over ten years, Khalida spoke about the meaning of environmental justice. She explained that the justice side of environmentalism is different from mainstream environmentalism because environmental justice concerns people’s lives. A person’s environment includes encompasses the air we breathe to the buses we ride to the places we work and learn. This includes the violence and degradation that threaten our communities. Read more...

Celebrate Dudley at the EJ in the 'Hood festival

June 11, 2008

After the success of Jammin’ for Justice, we are continuing the summer excitement with the EJ in the 'Hood Festival on Saturday, June 28. The festival will run from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Blair parking lot across from ACE’s office in Dudley Square.

EJ in the 'Hood, June 28, 11 am - 6 pm, Dudley Square, Roxbury)

This year, EJ in the 'Hood is gearing up to be the most vibrant and successful yet! Come visit with ACE staff and members and become a member of the ACE community yourself. Bring the entire family and enjoy free barbeque, musicians, an Open House at the ACE office, yard sale, EJ Tours of Dudley and kid friendly activities. Community groups will share information about ways for folks to connect to positive work in the community. Relax with your fellow neighbors, shop from local vendors and celebrate the vibrancy of our Dudley Square community! Read more...

Free energy efficient lights for lower-income communities

June 10, 2006

LiveCooler makes compact fluorescent light bulbs available to lower-income families

Non-profit housing organizations in lower income communities can now receive donations of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to distribute to residents. These are purchased by LiveCooler, a non-profit that accepts donations to offset carbon emissions. Installation of CFLs not only reduces household carbon footprints but also energy bills. Although CFL bulbs provide a long term financial gain, their significant cost makes them less accessible than their incandescent counterparts.

LiveCooler lessens the financial strain on lower income families while helping to combat global warming. Donors can offset the carbon emissions of their homes, cars, or flights and see the number of light bulbs purchased as well as the projected reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and energy costs. Over 10 years, a $36 contribution prevents 6,000 lbs of CO2 emissions and saves $1,094 for two families, all by screwing in 13 light bulbs. Read more...

Fighting gentrification through arts and organizing

June 9, 2008

Last Thursday, ACE and REEP attended a Roundtable Discussion hosted by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). The discussion was held in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition of political posters on display in CPA's Henry Wong and You King Yee Memorial Gallery.

Poster from

These posters, from the collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, challenge viewers to grapple with the intertwined effects of gentrification and displacement.

Coalition members from more than ten different community-based organizations, including ACE, gathered to discuss the Right to the City framework within the context of gentrification. As the discussion developed, a number of participants expressed an interest in reviving the Whose Boston? campaign and coalition. Two particular ideas brought forward were refocusing to build a citywide message that our communities are here to stay, and strengthening it by linking more socially conscious artists with organizers. Read more...

Beat the heat – plant a free tree!

June 6, 2008

Additional trees will provide more shade and cleaner air

As our first heat wave begins in Boston, consider planting a tree to keep things green, shady, and cool. Planting trees does more than beautify neighborhoods. Well positioned trees drastically reduce energy bills by providing shade for buildings. They also provide millions of dollars worth of air purification, reducing local pollution and respiratory problems.

According to a report from the Urban Ecology Institute, Roxbury has a tree canopy cover of 23 percent and adjacent North Dorchester has a cover of 18 percent. These figures aren't bad, but are nowhere near the number of trees in Jamaica Plain (42 percent cover) or West Roxbury (49 percent cover). Read more...

Police searches: keeping us safe or destroying our rights?

June 4, 2008

State Senator Wilkerson speaks against the so called Safe Homes Initiative

Yesterday, a group of over 30 individuals met at the Freedom House in Grove Hall for Come Get Your Rights On – What You Need to Know about Police Searches, the third meeting in a series of forums discussing the Safe Homes Initiative. The program included a keynote speech from the National Black Police Association Executive Director Ronald Hampton, a response from Senator Dianne Wilkerson, and an informative panel including attorneys and community organizations.

The Safe Homes Initiative is a program initiated by the mayor and the Boston Police Department to respond to tips and remove illegal guns. This involves a team of at least three police officers, and possibly members of the clergy, visiting homes to ask for consent to search the bedrooms of young people. Read more...

Roxbury development may involve green jobs

June 3, 2008

Map of Parcels 8, 9, and 10

Last Thursday, the Roxbury Master Plan Committee held the third in a series of meetings to gather community input for developing the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street (see map). About 35 people attended the event, which was led by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. While there was not complete consensus about the community's vision for the development of these parcels, many residents were dedicated to the generation of green jobs. Read more...

Walkable streets are liveable streets

May 30, 2008

Today is the Green Street Initiative's monthly Walk/Ride Day. ACE believes that walkable streets are essential for promoting clean, green, and healthy communities.

Making sidewalks, streets, and crosswalks safe and accessible for pedestrians has important benefits for our communities. Improved pedestrian access to local businesses helps neighborhood economies. Encouraging residents to walk instead of drive saves gas, keeping air quality and the environment cleaner. Walkability promotes regular exercise, great for health and encouraging neighbors to interact with each other.

Last year, the Brookings Institute rated the Boston area as second in the nation in terms of walkability. A report released yesterday ranked Boston at number three. While these are nice rankings, more important is that all of Boston's communities can benefit from healthy, walkable communities.