ACE Blog

Bedouins fight serious environmental injustices

May 1, 2008

Ra'ed Al-Mickawi of Bustan

On Tuesday, the Boston chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace sponsored a talk by Ra’ed Al-Mickawi, director of Bustan. Taking its name from a word meaning "fruit-yielding orchard" in both Hebrew and Arabic, Bustan is an organization fighting for environmental justice in the Bedouin communities of Israel.

Having cultivated low-impact agricultural practices over several generations in Israel’s Negev Desert, Bedouin culture has long been centered around self sufficiency, communal autonomy, and a deep connection to the land. In 1962 the Israeli government began a relocation program, forcing the Bedouins from rural and agriculture rich areas into small, contained urban townships.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, explained that the goal of this forced relocation program was to eventually clear Bedouins out of the Negev completely, "in order not to disturb development plans." Today, most of Israel’s nearly 200,000 Bedouin reside in seven "recognized" townships constructed by the Israeli government. The rest live in about 45 "unrecognized" villages subject to regular house demolitions and forced relocations. Read more...

Advocacy Day for Workers and Immigrants

April 29, 2008

With May Day nearly upon us, don't just show your support for immigrant causes in the streets of Boston - take the next step and head to the State House! The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) plans to continue the momentum generated on May 1 by sponsoring a Advocacy Day for Workers and Immigrants on Wednesday, May 7.

Arrive at the Mass State House at 10:00 a.m. and head to hearing room A-1, where MIRA representatives will be presenting their new report, entitled "New Workers, New Voters" and lobbying Greater Boston legislators to support budget priorities such as Domestic Violence Prevention, Adult Basic Education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. Read more...

Gentrification in Chinatown today

April 28, 2008

Chinatown

Chinatown is one of the fastest growing communities in Boston. Over the last ten years, the neighborhood has seen dramatic change. Despite the growth, issues of gentrification, job opportunities, and immigration still affect Chinatown today. Local day laborers hang around, waiting for restaurants to hire them for a days work. Because of language barriers, many residents lack the skills and resources to land jobs elsewhere.

This jeopardizes their living standards since the many new luxury high rises base rents on the average income ($20,000-35,000) of Boston. The actual average income for Chinatown is only $15,000. Read more...

How will green jobs benefit our communities?

April 25, 2008

Due to the influence of scholar/activists like Van Jones, "green-collar jobs" has become a buzz phrase. But to what extent will this mixture of environmental activism and corporate America help to revitalize underprivileged communities across the U.S.?

Aaron Tanaka of the Boston Workers' Alliance has recently published an article describing some of the challenges and opportunities associated with the green jobs industry, and how that relates to Dr. King's vision for the abolition of poverty. Tananka writes, "We should ask whether CO2 reduction would simply add to the coffers of large corporations, or whether green collar jobs can represent real pathways out of poverty." Read more...

Introducing ACE member Naomi Spector

April 24, 2008

Ever wonder who writes some of our blogs? Meet Naomi Spector, an ACE volunteer since last fall who has come in on a weekly basis to help out. She is an excellent writer and we are so lucky to have her be a part of the ACE family. Thanks for all your hard work Naomi!

By Naomi Spector, ACE member

I have been a volunteer at ACE for several months now, as part of an independent study in science at my high school in Brookline. I became interested in social justice issues at a young age and began working last year with Centro Presente, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of the Latin American immigrant community. At Centro I teach citizenship classes in Spanish for people who wish to pass the naturalization exam, an experience that has opened my eyes to the obstacles, hardships and sometimes injustices that so many in our community face. Read more...

Local Aramark employees rally for health care

April 23, 2008

Rene at UNITE rally

More than 500 UNITE-HERE Local 26 union members and allies rallied in front of Hynes Convention Center yesterday in solidarity with convention center workers currently fighting for a fair contract with Aramark, a national food service corporation. Aramark employees at Hynes are the only workers unionized through Local 26 who still are not provided health care or a pension. They have also worked without a contract for the past four months. They are now demanding the same treatment that their fellow workers receive in comparable positions from hotels and restaurants across Massachusetts.

Workers and allies held a picket line in front of the convention center for nearly two hours, chanting "Si, Se Puede!" and "No Contract, No Peace!" to the beat of an impromptu four-drum band. At its peak, the crowd nearly enveloped the entire block with a sea of red UNITE-HERE T-shirts. Read more...

Earth Day Action: Call your senator!

April 22, 2008

Have you taken action to help pass the Diesel Bill in Massachusetts? The Diesel Bill will require diesel fleets to retrofit - install affordable pollution control equipment - on trucks to cut emissions by 90 percent. As a member of the Massachusetts Diesel Pollution Solution Coalition, ACE is working to reduce pollution in our neighborhoods that can lead to diseases like asthma. See this new video for footage of the work youth across the region are doing to pass the Diesel Bill.

Handel Dixon speaks at Diesel Emissions Demonstration

Today, REEP Youth Organizer Handel Dixon (also featured in the video) met with Senator Jack Hart (Diesel Bill Sponsor), representatives of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and youth from Chelsea and East Boston as part of the Youth Lobby Day to discuss this legislation. Stay tuned for updates on the bill's progress and turn your sets to Fox25 this Thursday at 10 and 11 p.m. for a story on diesel emissions in our home neighborhood of Roxbury. Please pick up the phone today - a simple call to your senator will help ensure clean air for all our communities. Read more...
 

Toxic sludge tested in poor neighborhoods

April 18, 2008

This week the Associated Press reported that researchers in Baltimore have been testing sludge as a method of lessening the harmful effects of lead-filled soil. Unfortunately, residents of the lower income community of color where this testing took place were never warned of the risks of having their yards covered in this mix of human and industrial waste.

Federally funded researchers told nine lower income families in Baltimore row houses that their yards were contaminated with lead and dangerous for their children. They then offered to treat the soil with a fertilizer that would trap heavy metal, promising that the mixture was safe and claiming that it was store bought. In exchange, the researchers distributed food coupons and planted lawns. The potentially hazardous sludge had never been tested for safety and studies on the health of children who played in the yards was never done. Read more...

“Unsung Hero” award honors ACE Board Chair

April 17, 2008

ACE Board Chair Bob Terrell

Great news! ACE Board Chair Robert Terrell won the 2008 Boston Neighborhood Fellows Award which honors "unsung heroes" who have made a difference in the community. The Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program "provides recognition and direct financial support to individuals of creativity, vision and leadership who work in community service in Greater Boston."

Bob is the Coordinator for On the Move Coalition, a group of organizations working for transit justice across the region. He has been a tireless advocate for transit issues in the communities we serve. Read more...

Pages