Join us for our 20th Anniversary MEJAN Breakfast

Panelists at the 20th Anniversary MEJAN Breakfast

Join us as we reflect on the 20 years since the passage of the Federal Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice and MEJAN's launch, as well as 12 years since the establishment of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Policy in 2002. How far have we come? Where do we need to go? We hope you will be able to participate in this discussion and fundraiser for the premier environmental justice organization in Massachusetts - Alternatives for Community & Environment.

Speakers will include Dr. Nicky Sheats of New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, MEJAN client Reverend Curtis Dias, and Kalila Barnet of ACE.

Suggested Donation: $100
Company Sponsorships: $500
Sponsorships include three tickets and acknowledgement in MEJAN materials.

Please contact John to RSVP.

20th Anniversary MEJAN Breakfast
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
8:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Mintz Levin
One Financial Center, 38th Floor
Boston, MA 02110



In 1994, ACE and the Boston Bar Association Environmental Law Section partnered to establish the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN) to match volunteer attorneys, licensed site professionals, public health scientists and other professionals with community groups working for environmental justice.

For twenty years, ACE has administered MEJAN, conducting legal request intakes, recruiting professionals, facilitating matches, and supporting volunteers and client groups. We have successfully partnered with thousands of residents in environmental justice communities to create healthier, greener and safer neighborhoods across the Commonwealth.

Environmental and Public Health Professionals: Sign Up Here to Help!

Attorney/Consultant Registration Form [PDF]

We need volunteer attorneys, environmental consultants and public health professionals! These professionals play a crucial role in helping community groups combat environmental injustice in their neighborhoods. Please consider joining the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network.

To find out more, complete the MEJAN Registration Form [PDF] and return to ACE by mail, or call Staci at (617) 442-3343 x 236.

Panelist bios

Kalila Barnet of ACE

Kalila Barnett is the Executive Director of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), a leading environmental justice organization based in Boston. For over twenty years ACE has worked to build the power of low-income communities and communities of color in Massachusetts and in the region.

Kalila first got involved with ACE as a volunteer and a member then later served on the board of directors. Kalila has over a decade of experience in community organizing around affordable housing, land development and environmental justice. She is a Roxbury native and lifelong resident of Boston. Kalila graduated from Bates College with a degree in American Studies and Spanish. Prior to assuming this position, Kalila was a Senior Organizer at Community Labor United, and worked at Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and Madison Park Development Corporation. Kalila serves on the board of Right to the City Alliance, Mass Budget and Policy Center, and The Center for Environmental Health.


MEJAN client Reverend Curtis Dias

Reverend Curtis Dias is a leader of the Concerned Citizens of Freetown, a member organization working for environmental justice in East Freetown, Massachusetts. East Freetown is home to a low income community of Black and Cape Verdean families, many of whom live on Braley Road. A pastor at Calvary Pentecostal Church on Braley Road, Reverend Dias worked with residents to form CCF in response to the many environmental injustices the community was facing.

Twenty years ago the Massachusetts Highway Department placed a salt facility on Braley Road. The salt seeped into groundwater and contaminated the wells of residents. Residents did not have enough pressure to flush toilets properly, for laundry or even quickly fill a glass of water. In 1996, Braley Road was designated as an industrial zone despite the century-old homes and churches, prompting residents to organize CCF and win a reversal of the designation back to residential.

Through the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN), ACE matched the group with Attorneys Gregor I. McGregor and Michael J. O’Neill of McGregor & Associates. CCF has now successfully defeated an asphalt plant, the expansion of a concrete facility, a trucking and distribution facility that would have massively increased already severe truck traffic on their street, and banned the storage of fly ash.

In 2003, with the assistance of Nadine Cohen of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Paul Wilson of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., CCF filed suit alleging that town officials had targeted their community for burdensome development and industrial zoning and then failed to correct the low water pressure. On February 25, 2005, CCF and the town agreed on a settlement in the case. Although the town categorically denies it, the settlement is a tacit admission of racism in their planning and zoning decision along Braley Road.

Reverend Dias continues the fight for environmental justice with CCF to secure the clean up of a tire dump and ensure the responsible siting of solar facilities.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge

State Senator Jamie Eldridge has served as State Senator for the Middlesex and Worcester district since January 2009.

Previously, Jamie served as State Representative for the 37th Middlesex district, after being elected the only Clean Elections candidate to public office in Massachusetts history in November 2002. Jamie is known for his leadership and independence on behalf of his constituents.

Jamie has focused his energies in the House and in the Senate on enhancing public education, stimulating the economy, promoting campaign and ethics reform, protecting the environment, improving public safety, expanding access to health care and improving public transportation.

Jamie is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Boston College Law School, where he served as President of the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) for two years. Prior to his election as State Representative, Jamie worked as a public interest attorney with Merrimack Valley Legal Services in Lowell, a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to the poor and the elderly. As a public interest lawyer, he also worked to help low-income residents with issues of housing, Social Security, disability and unemployment.

Dr. Nicky Sheats of New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

Nicky Sheats is currently the director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison Sate College where he has defined the primary mission of the Center as providing support for New Jersey’s environmental justice community.

He has been a member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, New Jersey’s only statewide environmental organization that focuses on environmental justice (EJ) issues, since its inception in 2003. Dr. Sheats has also been appointed to New Jersey’s Clean Air Council and in recent years has expanded his work to a national level where he is currently a member of the EJ Leadership Forum on Climate Change, EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and the National EJ Advisory Council (NEJAC). He is also serving as a lead author on the public health chapter of the National Climate Assessment and was formerly a member of the School Air Toxics Working Group of NEJAC and the New Orleans and Delta Area EJ Policy Task Force of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University.

Dr. Sheats received his Ph.D. from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University where his field of study was biological oceanography and his specialty was stable isotope biogeochemistry. He also has an undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He worked as a public interest attorney for almost eight years after graduating from law school. During that time, Dr. Sheats served as a law clerk for the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, as a landlord-tenant and housing attorney at Camden Regional Legal Services, as a public defender in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and as a legal instructor at a community legal education and college preparatory program in Harlem.

Panelist bios

Kalila Barnet of ACE

Kalila Barnett es la Directora Ejecutiva de Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), una organización líder en la justicia ambiental con sede en Boston. Por más de veinte años, ACE ha trabajado para edificar el poder de las comunidades de bajos ingresos y comunidades de color, en Massachusetts y en la región.

Kalila primero se involucró con ACE como voluntaria y miembro y más tarde sirvió en la Junta de Directores. Kalila tiene más de una década de experiencia en la organización comunitaria sobre vivienda económica, el desarrollo de terrenos y la justicia ambiental. Es oriunda de Roxbury y ha residido toda su vida en Boston. Kalila se graduó de Bates University con un grado en Estudios Americanos y Español. Antes de asumir esta posición, Kalila fue Organizadora Senior de Community Labor United, y trabajó en la Corporación de Desarrollo del Vecindario de Jamaica Plain y en Madison Park Development Corporation. Kalila es miembro de la Junta de Directores de Right to the City Alliance, Mass Budget and Policy Center y The Center for Environmental Health.


MEJAN client Reverend Curtis Dias

El Reverendo Curtis Dias es un líder de Concerned Citizens of Freetown, una organización compuesta por miembros que trabajan por la justicia ambiental en East Freetown, Massachusetts. East Freetown es el hogar de una comunidad de bajos ingresos de familias de la raza negra y de Cabo Verde, muchos de los cuales viven en Braley Road. Como pastor de la Iglesia Pentecostal Calvary en Braley Road, el reverendo Dias trabajó con los residentes para formar CCF como respuesta a las muchas injusticias ambientales que la comunidad enfrentaba.

Hace veinte años, el Departamento de Carreteras de Massachusetts construyó una instalación de producción de sal en Braley Road. La sal se filtró en el agua subterránea y contaminó los pozos de los residentes. Los residentes no tenían suficiente presión para descargar los inodoros correctamente, para lavar la ropa o incluso llenar rápidamente un vaso de agua. En 1996, Braley Road fue designada como una zona industrial a pesar de que allí ubicaban casas e iglesias centenarias, lo que llevó a los residentes a organizar CCF y lograr la revocación de la designación y denominarla de nuevo zona residencial.

Por medio de la Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN), ACE conectó al grupo con los Abogados Gregor I. McGregor y Michael J. O'Neill, de McGregor & Associates. CCF pudo con éxito evitar la instalación de una planta de asfalto, la expansión de una instalación de concreto, una instalación de transporte y distribución que hubiera aumentado enormemente el ya severo tráfico de camiones en su calle, y ha prohibido el almacenamiento de cenizas volantes.

En 2003, con la asistencia de Nadine Cohen, del Comité de Abogados para los Derechos Civiles y Paul Wilson de Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky y Popeo, PC, CCF presentó una demanda alegando que funcionarios de la ciudad habían señalado a su comunidad para desarrollo abrumador y zonificación industrial y luego no pudieron corregir la baja presión del agua. El 25 de febrero de 2005, CCF y la ciudad llegaron a un acuerdo en el caso. Aunque la ciudad lo niega categóricamente, el acuerdo es una admisión tácita del racismo en su decisión de planificación y zonificación de la Braley Road.

El Reverendo Dias continúa la lucha por la justicia ambiental con CCF para asegurar la limpieza de un vertedero de neumáticos y asegurar la localización responsable de las instalaciones solares.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge

El Senador Estatal Jamie Eldridge se ha desempeñado como Senador Estatal para el distrito de Middlesex y Worcester desde enero de 2009.

Anteriormente, Jamie fue Representante Estatal por el distrito 37 de Middlesex, después de ser elegido el único candidato de Elecciones Limpias para un cargo público en la historia de Massachusetts en noviembre de 2002. Jamie es conocido por su liderato e independencia en nombre de sus electores.

Jamie ha centrado sus energías en la Cámara y en el Senado para el mejoramiento en la educación pública, estimular la economía, promover la reforma en las campañas y la ética, la protección del medio ambiente, mejorar la seguridad pública, ampliar el acceso a la salud, y mejorar el transporte público.

Jamie es un graduado de la Universidad Johns Hopkins y la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Boston, donde se desempeñó como Presidente de la Fundación de Derecho del Interés Público (PILF) durante dos años. Antes de su elección como Representante Estatal, Jamie trabajó como abogado del interés público con Merrimack Valley Legal Services en Lowell, una organización sin fines de lucro que proporciona servicios legales gratuitos a los pobres y los ancianos. Como abogado del interés público, que también trabajó para ayudar a los residentes de bajos ingresos con problemas vivienda, el Seguro Social, discapacidad y desempleo.

Dr. Nicky Sheats of New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

Nicky Sheats es actualmente el Director del Centro para el Medio Ambiente Urbano en el Instituto S. John Watson para la Política Pública de Thomas Edison Sate College, donde ha definido la misión principal del Centro el proveer apoyo a la comunidad de la justicia ambiental de Nueva Jersey.

Nicky ha sido miembro de la Alianza de Justicia Ambiental de Nueva Jersey, única organización medioambiental en todo el estado de Nueva Jersey que se centra en asuntos de justicia ambiental (J) desde su creación en 2003. El Dr. Sheats también ha sido nombrado al Clean Air Council de Nueva Jersey y en los últimos años ha ampliado su trabajo a nivel nacional, donde actualmente es miembro del Foro de Liderazgo de JA sobre el Cambio Climático, el Comité Asesor sobre la Ley de Aire Limpio de la EPA y el Consejo Nacional Consultivo de JA (NEJAC). También se desempeña como autor líder en el capítulo de la salud pública del National Climate Assessment y anteriormente fue miembro del Grupo de la Escuela de Trabajo de Aire Tóxicos de NEJAC y del Grupo de Trabajo de Política Ambiental del Deep South Center for Environmental Justice del Area de New Orleans y el Delta de la Universidad de Dillard.

El Dr. Sheats recibió su Ph.D. del Departamento de Ciencias Terrestres y Planetarias en la Universidad de Harvard, donde su campo de estudio fue la oceanografía biológica y su especialidad fue la biogeoquímica de isótopos estables. También tiene un grado en economía de la Universidad de Princeton y un grado en Derecho de la Facultad de Derecho de Harvard. Trabajó como abogado del interés público durante casi ocho años después de graduarse de la escuela de leyes. Durante ese tiempo, el Dr. Sheats se desempeñó como asistente legal del Juez Presidente de la Corte de Apelaciones del Distrito de Columbia, como abogado de propietarios, arrendatarios y vivienda en Camden Regional Legal Services, como defensor público en New Brunswick, Nueva Jersey, y como instructor legal en un programa comunitario de educación legal y preparación para la universidad en Harlem.

This event is supported by: