ACE Blog

Hundreds celebrate environmental justice!

June 17, 2015

Thanks for coming out to celebrate!Thank you for supporting and attending Jammin' for Justice last month! We loved celebrating the work we accomplished together with so many members and partners. You helped make this year's celebration hugely successful, raising the most money yet! Your support means that this year, we can continue working for clean air, the right to remain in Roxbury in the face of gentrification and displacement, accessible public transportation and much more.

Special thanks to our 2015 EJ Awardees: Black Lives Matter Boston and the Boston Coalition for Police Accountability, Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance members and state allies of the Executive Order for Environmental Justice campaign, and the leadership team of the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition. We were honored to be able to recognize your impressive work for racial, transit and environmental justice.

Thank you for making Jammin' such a fun evening! See highlights from the evening on our Facebook album.

Join us at Hyjack dah Hood!

June 17, 2015

Extensive development is rapidly transforming Dudley SquareJoin us at Hyjack dah Hood this Saturday, June 20, to explore how we can turn the tide against gentrification and displacement in Roxbury!

Extensive development is rapidly transforming the Dudley Square area - how can we ensure that low-income residents don't get pushed and priced out? Together, we will learn about the impacts of structural racism, strategize powerful responses, participate in games and activities, and more.

We'll be focusing on improving public transit, food justice and community control of land, dismantling racism, and the campaign to protect residents through just cause eviction. Our partners at Youth Against Mass Incarceration and Bikes Not Bombs will also be holding workshops on knowing your rights.

It's time to remain, reclaim and rebuild our neighborhoods! Suggested donation is $5.00 - no one turned away.

Member Profile: Whitney Ogbesoyen, REEP alum

June 3, 2015

Whitney Ogbesoyen, REEP Alum When I started the Summer Leadership Program on social justice at The City School in 2009, I became really invested and loved the work. Their former director sent me to REEP, and I applied, got in and absolutely loved the program. There were two main campaigns and air quality was one of them. We talked about a kid who died of asthma and that was really personal to me because I have family members with asthma. Asthma is not something we really talk about among youth—we talk about other issues, like violence—but asthma was not one of them.

Roxbury, a low-income community, has six times the asthma rate of Massachusetts. It really shows that asthma is a problem—this is extremely high and it’s also high in other communities of color. We have a lot of schools in our district and people miss work and school because of asthma. We shouldn’t have this problem if we have a way to fix it.

Member Profile: Dacia Jordan, REEP Alum

June 3, 2015

Dacia Jordan, REEP Alum I’ve been involved with air quality work since 2009, my freshman year of high school. I got involved because my brother Davonte is a REEP alum. The Air Quality Team attracted me because my whole family has asthma except me – it touches home so I wanted to make a difference. DERO focuses on neighborhoods that aren’t really looked at. It shows that our neighborhoods are not full of negativity, that they’re not a bad place to be. When people think of Boston, they think of Newbury Street, but they don’t think of Blue Hill Ave or places like Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan that have higher asthma rates.

One of my favorite moments, probably one of everyone’s favorite moments, was the public hearing in December 2011 we had at City Hall. There were so many people in that room—high school students with masks on their faces, the whole REEP family there—and it was just a good feeling, all of us and four city councilors. It was good to know that someone in a position of power heard where you’re coming from and agreed. It’s a good feeling and that’s what made me want to stay even though it was not easy at all.

Victory for clean air!

June 3, 2015

We're excited to share that this morning, Mayor Marty Walsh signed into law An Ordinance to Protect Air Quality throughout the City Of Boston by Reducing Fuel Emissions, the final version of our Diesel Emissions Reduction Ordinance (DERO) that will reduce harmful pollution caused by diesel vehicles and idling. This comes after five years of organizing and working with our partners at Clean Water Action.

DERO requires pre-2007 diesel-powered vehicles and equipment used by the city and its contractors to be retrofitted with emission-reduction equipment, and includes tools for proper enforcement, such as allowing more city employees to inspect and ticket violators of the current state idling law.

"DERO is another victory in REEP's 19-year campaign to improve air quality," said Dacia Jordan, a Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) alum and campaign leader. "I've been involved with air quality work since 2009, my freshman year of high school. My whole family has asthma except me - it touches home so I wanted to make a difference."

The Path to Better Public Transit!

May 28, 2015

The following was released by ACE partner Community Labor United.

Public Transit Public Good Let's cut to the chase -- The Baker administration has proposed privatizing public transportation and removing the Taxpayer Protection Act (also known as the Pacheco Law). The Pacheco Law is a safeguard that ensures that when public service is contracted out, it is done so thoughtfully, with an analysis of cost savings and where they come from. We've seen what happens in other places when public transit is contracted out. Private contractors often save money on the backs of workers, gutting wages and benefits and destabilizing families. Quality of service also suffers as increased employee turnover and service is driven by profit instead of the needs of riders.

The Public Transit Public Good campaign has been working towards an affordable and efficient public transportation system that invests in workers and meets the needs of riders. We recognize that the best long-term solutions will come from working together with our legislators to find ways to invest more concrete resources in our public transit system, just as we all did in 2013. In that spirit, we offer the Path to Better Public Transit report to this important debate.

Jammin' for Justice awardee spotlight: Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance (MA EJ Alliance)

May 20, 2015

We would like to highlight our EJ Award recipients who worked hard to secure our state's Executive Order on Environmental Justice!

Photo by Marilyn HumphriesThe Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance (MA EJ Alliance) accomplished a major goal in 2014 when Massachusetts became one of just eight states to issue an Executive Order on Environmental Justice (EJ EO). Convened by ACE in 2009, the alliance is comprised of more than 20 grassroots groups and supported by health professionals and academic researchers who came together to push for an EJ policy agenda. MA EJ Alliance members identified the Executive Order as a priority.

After five years of campaigning, including meeting with officials and government agencies, collecting signed postcards calling for the EJ EO, and language negotiations, the MA EJ Alliance convinced Governor Deval Patrick to sign the EJ EO to ensure that state agencies take EJ communities' interests into account.

"Having a state environmental justice order in place makes a difference to a community like Salem in giving citizens more leverage to demand a cleaner environment," said Pat Gozemba, Co-Chair of Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE). "SAFE was proud to partner with ACE in getting Governor Patrick to sign the historic order."

We demand real solutions to MBTA problems

May 12, 2015

Yesterday, legislators held a State House hearing on Governor Baker’s proposed MBTA legislation, just over a month since full service resumed system-wide. Developed out of recommendations by a rapid response panel, this legislation claims to address the tremendous problems exposed by the brutal winter—but unfortunately will create an even bigger disaster if implemented.

State House hearing on Baker's MBTA plan on May 11

“This is a distraction,” said Kalila Barnett, Executive Director for Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). “Instead of proposing real solutions, the Baker administration is using the winter to advance a deceptive agenda. These so-called ‘reforms’ will create more economic inequality and throw years of disinvestment on riders while privatizing public services to enrich wealthy interests. It’s time to build off of 2013 and move toward a vision for public transportation that serves the needs of riders and a thriving region.”

Jammin' for Justice awardee spotlight: Black Lives Matter Boston and the Boston Coalition for Police Accountability

May 12, 2015

As we prepare for Jammin' for Justice, our biggest celebration and fundraiser of the year, we'd like to highlight two recipients of our EJ Awards, Black Lives Matter Boston (BLM Boston) and the Boston Coalition for Police Accountability (BCPA).

BLM Boston formed in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police last August in Ferguson, Mo. BCPA is comprised of nearly 40 groups (ACE is a member) and came together last year after formative conversations about police practices in 2013. Both work in solidarity with groups across the country and address law enforcement targeting of black youth and youth of color locally and nationally.

"I want to see young people empowered, able to challenge things on a day-to-day basis, challenging police in the streets," said Carl Williams of BCPA. "I want to see people feel safe and supported in their community."

In the past year, BLM Boston and BCPA have led thousands of people in marches, organized creative actions and held community meetings to build the movement for police accountability and racial justice.

Jammin' for Justice awardee spotlight: Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition

April 30, 2015

As we prepare for Jammin' for Justice, our biggest celebration and fundraiser of the year, we'd like to highlight one of our EJ Awardees, the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC). While we coordinate YAC, this award recognizes the dedication and energy of the core member groups that fought for the Youth Pass pilot.

In 2012, the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC) was formed in response to drastic proposals to hike fares and cut service. This coalition built on and broadened the reach of the Youth Way on the MBTA campaign which was created in 2007 to work for a Youth Pass.

YAC began organizing thousands of youth for creative actions, including a 24-hour vigil outside the State House as part of a successful campaign to reduce the fare hike. With partner groups, we also secured additional and substantial MBTA funding from the Legislature in 2013. These wins solidified our coalition as a powerful force in pushing for an equitable public transit system.