August 15, 2008
Congratulations to Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) Youth Organizers Andreya Jones and Ronneshia Bolden for their recent high school graduations!
Andreya joined REEP last summer and attended University High School. During her time with ACE, Andreya played a vital role in the anti-idling campaign and advocated for the new diesel bill. Read more...
August 12, 2008
Every Thursday afternoon the ACE office fills with the sounds of enthusiastic young people. They're participating in the weekly Teen Cafés, hosted by Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project.
The Cafés, which draw an average of 25 teens, offer a space for youth to talk openly about issues that concern them. The agendas are driven by the interests of the youth present. Davel, a fifteen year old summer organizer with REEP, says the café discussions impact the young people who participate. "They're intense, complex and wild," he says, "The youth can talk about all the issues teens have to deal with, like pregnancy, violence and stereotypes. We talked about the N-word once and it was really deep." Read more...
August 6, 2008
ACE interns Amara, Becky, Brian, Cathy, Kathleen, and Sadie got a taste of farming in the city last Thursday afternoon as volunteers at the ReVision House Urban Farm in Dorchester. The interns were put to task spreading fertilizer around collard greens and cauliflower and weeding around bean plants. The farm is tucked away on Fabyan Street in a residential area, hidden from the main traffic streets. Also included are two other sites nearby. All three sites together make up a total of one acre of "farmland."
The farm is truly an urban farm. It is situated on previously vacant lots, which held triple-decker apartment buildings before burning down in 1970. Furthermore, there are no full-service grocery centers within the Farm's zip code of 02124 – creating a "food desert." This poses a problem for the residents living in the area with limited access to transportation to the full service grocery stores located miles away. ReVision’s small farm is able to produce enough for a farm stand, farmer's market stands (with a Brookline farm) at the Milton Farmer's Market, and 75 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) full-price and low-income shares in conjunction with Drumlin Farm. Finally, half of its produce goes to the 22 women currently staying in women's shelter ReVision House, located across the street, all for free. Read more...
August 1, 2008
ACE recently received an unsolicited email from Wal-Mart commending our work. It said that "REEP is a wonderful program" and that Wal-Mart appreciates the connections REEP makes between environmental sustainability and education. It's always rewarding when REEP is recognized, but the praise from Walmart is a bit puzzling as our mission and vision contradict Wal-Mart's business practices. We believe that sustainable neighborhoods involve fair wages, local ownership of businesses, and community investment - not discrimination, political strong-arming, and anti-unionism. Read more...
July 30, 2008
Yesterday, City Life/Vida Urbana and partners rallied at the State House in support of three bills that could help end the foreclosure crisis in Massachusetts. The three bills would place a temporary moratorium on foreclosures, require just cause for all evictions and require judicial review of foreclosures.
Supporters held up cardboard keys, representing the 30,000 homes in foreclosure across the Commonwealth. One key was painted black in memory of Carlene Balderrama, a Taunton woman who committed suicide when faced with foreclosure.
Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, CLVU Tenant Organizer Soledad Lawrence, and Roxbury resident Paula Taylor, whose home was successfully defended from a post-foreclosure eviction all spoke in favor of the legislation. Ralliers then visited legislators and urged them to support the bills. They also presented lawmakers with a key as a reminder that many people are at risk of losing their homes. Read more...
July 28, 2008
Our hearts go out to partner organization and neighbor Project Hip Hop (PHH), who has recently lost a member of their youth group. In moments like these, the youth violence epidemic touches us all personally. REEP continues the campaign against youth violence with PHH in coalition with the United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston. Kelvin Lara, you will be remembered.
Kelvin Patricio Lara
May 16, 1990 - July 12, 2008
By Carmen Ruiz
Kelvin was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and lived on Blue Hill Avenue for most of his life. Kelvin had a great passion for his opinions and the values he believed in. With his charming personality and great sense of humor, Kelvin touched the lives of those who were fortunate enough to be around him.
During his high school years Kelvin gained much popularity. With his good looks and good heart he gained the love of his girlfriend Soukaina. Many late nights he would play his love songs and think about her. Kelvin would always sit outside or ride bikes with Angel and their friends talking and laughing about life. Johnny, Jamerson, and Kelvin would stay up late playing videogames, and arguments would always come up about music and sports. Showcasing his enthusiasm for the home teams, Kelvin predicted championships for both the Celtics and Red Sox when others around him doubted. And if Kelvin wasn't hanging outside with his friends, playing NFL Madden, or spending time with his girlfriend, he would play with and help take care with his nieces Alexia and Liliana, and also visit various family members. Read more...
July 25, 2008
Next Friday, REEP will host our Twelfth Annual Environmental Justice Youth Summit. Mishon Brown, REEP Organizer and Youth Summit Coordinator, is expecting one of the best turnouts ever. Themed "Resolution for Conflict and Drama in the Heart of the City," this gathering focuses on positive change and aims to connect young people with campaigns on issues affecting youth.
The summit will include workshops as well as spoken word, dance and music. Workshops will continue building dialogue among youth, covering topics such as violence, money, stereotypes, teen relationships and green jobs. Browne hopes that the conversations "will get people to open up and realize what is going on." Read more...
July 23, 2008
Today, REEP youth joined forces with the Spanish American Union in Springfield, Chelsea Green Space and the Massachusetts Diesel Pollution Solution Coalition for a diesel lobby day. We handed out information packets and talked to receptionists, aides and state representatives, asking for support of the diesel pollution prevention amendment to the Environmental Bond Bill, otherwise known as the Diesel Bill. The bill could come to a vote as soon as this evening.
The amendment, sponsored by Representative Coakley-Rivera, would require all state contracted heavy duty and garbage/recycling vehicles that run on diesel to install the best available retrofit technology over the next three years. This technology could reduce air pollution up to 90 percent. The bill would also establish a Diesel Emissions Reduction Funding Program to help fund the installation of retrofit technology in diesel-powered fleets. Read more...
July 22, 2008
According to the Boston Phoenix, voter turnout in Massachusetts is "depressingly low," ranking only 21st in the nation. But does this mean residents are apathetic or are other issues at play?
Local community groups, including MassVOTE, a non-partisan voting rights organization, believe that by making it easier and more convenient to register voters at the polls, Massachusetts voting numbers could go up by as many as 225,000 people. Same-day voter registration would increase turnout during what many are calling the most important and hotly debated election in recent memory.
Proposed legislation on same-day registration was scheduled for a vote last Thursday, but a small number of senators used parliamentary procedures to stall the bill. Now the Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on it this week. The legislation would allow new voters and those who have changed addresses to register to vote on Election Day and to have the new system in place in time for the fall presidential election. Read more...
July 21, 2008
As part of the Radical Organizing Conference Summer Institute last Wednesday, ACE hosted a workshop on gentrification called "Stop Robbing Our ‘Hood." Led by T-Riders Union Chair and ACE board member Lisa Sadika Edwards, the workshop covered development issues in Roxbury.
The session began with a discussion of gentrification and its impact in the community. Gentrification occurs when money is invested to improve a neighborhood, ultimately raising the cost of housing. This displaces lower income people, frequently people of color, and allows wealthier folks to move in. The result is a catch 22 where residents who work to revitalize a neighborhood may eventually be priced out of living there. Read more...