Jammin' for Justice 2007 Founders' Awardees

United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston's Leadership Team

The United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston (UYYWB) is a coalition of more than 80 youth groups. Its leadership team includes more than 25 youth and five adult advisors representing the various coalition members. For the past three years, the UYYWB has led a multi-faceted campaign to stem rising rates of youth violence in Boston. After years of budget cuts, they are demanding more funding for youth jobs, youth development programs, and an increase in street workers. The Leadership Team has mobilized and trained hundreds of youth to participate in rallies, press conferences, and meetings with elected officials. They have changed the terms of the debate around violence to address the root causes by supporting positive youth development and not just putting more police on the street. In 2005 and 2006, they succeeded in getting the State to add more than $4 million to the budget for youth jobs programs and got the City to add $300,000 towards summer jobs programs in 2006. Senior youth leaders are mentoring younger emerging leaders to create a sustainable movement of youth in Boston.

Stop the Fare Increase Leadership Team

The Stop the Fare Increase Leadership Team led the T Riders Union campaign in 2006 against the transit fare increase. The leadership team includes about a dozen active members of the T Riders Union and our allies. They participated, testified, and entertained at rallies and protests, MBTA board meetings, and fare increase hearings. They reached out and mobilized hundreds of others to participate in the campaign. They met directly with MBTA General Manager Grabauskas and the new Secretary of Transportation Cohen. In doing so they helped push the MBTA to lower the fare increase proposal, publicize the inequities in the MBTA system and the need for service improvement, and commanded respect from MBTA decision makers, elected officials, and the media.

Michael O'Neill, McGregor & Associates

Michael J. O’Neill is a lawyer with McGregor & Associates and part of ACE’s pro bono legal network, the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network. He has been providing free legal representation for several years to Concerned Citizens of Freetown, who are lower income Cape Verdean residents of the Braley Road neighborhood in Freetown. He has spent hundreds of hours representing their interests in opposing industrial development and seeking to minimize its impacts on the neighborhood. His efforts have resulted in part of the neighborhood being rezoned from industrial to residential, tax abatements for the residents on account of inadequate water pressure, and the town’s reversal of its position prohibiting expansion of the church in the neighborhood. He has appeared and argued on behalf of the residents before state and local agencies and in court to require a proposed industrial subdivision in the area to comply fully with state and local laws and regulations governing wetland protection, subdivision control, and zoning.

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