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.

This year, YAC achieved a momentous victory with the implementation of a Youth Pass pilot program that will provide affordable monthly and weekly passes to 1,500 youth in Boston, Chelsea, Malden and Somerville. This comes after eight years of rallies, marches, petitions and our 2014 Sit-in for Opportuni(T) in the Secretary of Transportation's office where 21 supporters were arrested.

Following the sit-in, the MBTA agreed to create a Youth Pass working group that included six YAC members to develop a pilot program. The Youth Pass pilot will begin in July 2015 with $26 monthly passes and $7 weekly passes available to youth ages 12 to 21.

This award honors the hard work and contributions of YAC's core leadership team. Congratulations to Bikes Not Bombs, Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC), Chelsea Collaborative ECO, Chinese Youth Initiative (CYI) of the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Dorchester Bay Youth Force, El Movimiento and Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción. We are proud to honor your work for youth transit justice!