ACE Blog

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.

Early Bird campaign wins permanent trips!

April 30, 2015

We're happy to report that the additional Early Bird bus trips our T Riders Union (TRU) won in the fall and winter are now permanently included in the MBTA's regular schedule!

TRU wins additional Early Bird tripsLast fall, we pushed the MBTA to implement extra early morning trips in the fall and winter schedules on Routes 22, 23, 28 and 109, including runs before 6:00 a.m. and extra round trips.

This includes an increase in the service void zone of Saturday and Sunday mornings, a pressing need of shift workers. These changes, now incorporated into the MBTA's regular schedule, have already made significant improvements in early morning service in the transit-dependent communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Everett. Riders have more flexibility to make shifts on time and the added service has reduced overcrowding.

Our Early Bird campaign was launched last year after we surveyed riders in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan and found that 90 percent supported early morning service, meaning all bus trips starting before 6:00 a.m. Public testimony included firsthand accounts from hotel and janitorial workers of packed 5:00 a.m. buses and difficulties in reaching jobs during the early off-peak hours.

Jammin' for Justice is coming up!

April 11, 2015

Members and supporters enjoying the evening at Jammin' last yearYou're invited to Jammin' for Justice, our biggest celebration and fundraiser of the year!

Please join us at Hibernian Hall on Thursday, May 21 to catch up with old friends, make new ones and honor a year of environmental justice victories. Enjoy great food, drinks, an extensive silent auction and dancing.

Jammin' for Justice
Thursday, May 21, 2015
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Sign-up for the Youth Pass pilot

April 11, 2015

Sign up for the Youth Pass pilot by April 30!After eight years of a hard-fought campaign, we are excited to share that our Youth Pass pilot program is now open for enrollment! Young people can register for the pilot on the MBTA's website through April 30.

"It's good that we're starting a Youth Pass pilot. It's time that youth have something that can benefit our lives," said REEP Youth Organizer Asia Fleming. "I have friends who sometimes have to choose between school or work because they don't have enough money to take the bus to both. We don't have a choice but to go to school, and we're emptying our pockets to do so."

This year-long program will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, for 1,500 youth ages 12 to 21 living in Boston, Chelsea, Malden and Somerville. Participants can choose between monthly ($26) and weekly ($7) passes, and may switch between the two over the course of the pilot. A random lottery of registrants will determine who fills the spots, and passes must be purchased in person at the designated Youth Pass hub of each city. Young people may continue registering after April 30, as spaces may open up over time.

Representatives of our Youth Affordabilit(T) Coalition (YAC) worked intensely with the MBTA Youth Pass working group over the fall to develop the structure, parameters and logistics of the pilot. In December, the proposed pilot was presented to the MassDOT board for review and has been incorporated into the MBTA's budget for the coming year.