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...
July 18, 2008
July 17, 2008
Preliminary boring along Boylston Street has started for Silver Line Phase III. Our friends at Switchback have posted an article on some of Phase III's serious flaws. They summarize,
"What do we get with the current Silver Line scam? Less capacity, less comfort for more money than a rail line. Oh, and a few buildings might be put in danger, as well."
The proposed tunnel project will cost more than light rail service, require the destruction of historic buildings for tunnel portals, disrupt traffic, and could jeopardize the structural integrity of structures in Chinatown and Downtown Boston. ACE and our partners, including On the Move and the Washington Street Corridor Coalition, are advocating for light rail service that would use existing tunnels leading from Boylston Street. This alternative would cost less and provide service "equal to or better than" the Orange Line Elevated Train, as the MBTA has promised to provide. Read more...
July 16, 2008
Thank you to everyone who came out to game night last week! ACE members, supporters, staff and interns shared food, stories and tons of laughs. There was a karaoke machine for the musically talented, charades for the actors and cake for the sugar lovers.
July 15, 2008
Another victory in the movement for housing justice was won this morning, as once again a multinational bank backed down from a post-foreclosure eviction. CountryWide Loans, a subsidiary of Bank of America, foreclosed on the home of Paula Taylor in Roxbury. Paula offered to pay market rent directly to the bank, but they refused and pursued an eviction. They told her to move out on June 30.
Paula decided to fight back and called City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), a housing rights organization campaigning against foreclosures. Paula is demanding the right to stay in her home and will not move out as long as the bank is the owner.
"Either someone will buy who wants a tenant or, if someone who buys the home wants to move in, I’ll move out without a fight," she said. "But I am taking a stand based on principle that I will not move out without a fight as long as the bank owns the property." Read more...