Michelle Wu’s victory in last week’s mayoral election was a vindication of ACE’s outspoken, bold strategy -- and a sign that we must now go even bolder.
This week, the Boston City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance that we’ve been fighting hard for: the Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance, or BERDO 2.0. It targets Boston’s biggest buildings -- a few thousand buildings that account for 60% of carbon pollution -- and sets aggressive standards for reduction.
For over twenty years, ACE has been fighting for environmental justice, and as of last week, it’s official: we now have environmental justice protection on the books statewide, after Governor Baker signed the Climate Bill into law.
Last week, the Vice Chair of the Boston Planning and Development Agency was heard asking, "Will white and colored people be paid the same?" I don’t know the context, and I don’t really care. It stings to hear a racist word, loaded with violence against the Black community.
I breathed a small sigh of relief when I saw Joe Biden officially sworn in -- and I’m excited to see Kamala Harris breaking down barriers as the first woman, Black person, and Asian-American as Vice President. It’s important that President Trump’s fascist attempt ended in failure. But I want us to be honest about what this new president means: our fight for environmental justice has changed, but it’s definitely still a fight.
This weekend, like many of you, I’ve been reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ACE likely wouldn’t exist or at least wouldn’t look the same if it weren’t for Dr. King and the other civil rights leaders who understood that environmental justice is inherently intertwined with civil rights. The birth of the Environmental Justice (EJ) movement was a direct response to environmental racism and was heavily influenced by the Civil Rights Movement.
Black unemployment, particularly for Black men, has been accepted as fact for so long that our policymakers now just mostly ignore it. That has to stop, now.
Right now, our entire ACE community is grieving George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many others who have been oppressed and killed by racism and racist systems. We stand with our youth, our elders and everyone in between who is rising up to demand justice.
Walking into the small room that serves as our idea hub, the walls are full (as they always were) with ideas for the future. My attention is instantly drawn to the oval table in the center of the room and the lively discussion that my peers are engaging in.
Are you frustrated with the constant negative impacts city and state decisions, policies and laws have in Roxbury? The administration's commitment to build new housing and “increase the overall housing stock” forces most of our communities to move to wherever they can afford.
It’s astounding what the power of two people can do to change a world. Two people traveled to our fair Commonwealth from Europe to attend a conference and a silent outbreak began. They then went to parties, traveled about the region and boarded planes to other states and countries, unintentionally spreading the covert CoVid 19 virus.
Lee Matsueda, the political director at Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), stressed the role of communities themselves in the solution-building process. “We have to let affected communities decide what solutions we implement and where we put our limited resources,” said Matsueda.