ACE Blog

Today's Jammin' for Justice EJ Awardee: Boston Workers Alliance

May 19, 2011

Jammin' for Justice, ACE’s annual celebration and fundraiser, is next Thursday, May 26! Members and supporters will be celebrating with delicious food, a live band, and our famous silent auction. Don't forget to RSVP by calling 617-442-3343 x231 or emailing Jasmine -- the deadline is tomorrow!

Jammin' is also an opportunity to showcase outstanding environmental justice work. In the next few days we will be highlighting our 2011 Environmental Justice Award honorees. Our first honoree is the Boston Workers Alliance.

BWA celebrates the passage of CORI reform

Founded in 2005, the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) is a grassroots organization led by unemployed and under-employed workers fighting for social and economic justice. Their vision and leadership in a multi-year statewide campaign led to the passage of a long-awaited Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform bill in August 2010. Job applicants will no longer be required to disclose their criminal history on preliminary job applications, giving equal footing for people who have completed sentences and those who were arrested and cleared.

CORIs will now be sealed after five years for misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies, a five-year decrease in both instances, and the CORI system will be upgraded so that employers will not have to depend on unregulated and inaccurate private databases. These reforms open doors for people who have paid their debt to society, give equal opportunities for employment, and place Massachusetts at the forefront of the national movement for economic justice.

Do you want your very own garden?

April 14, 2011

Do you like fresh vegetables? Want to grow them in your own backyard? The Food Project's Build-a-Garden program is now accepting applications for raised bed garden kits.

Having a backyard garden plot can help encourage better eating habits and a healthier lifestyle, reduce food costs, and foster a sense of community in the neighborhood. All Boston residents are eligible to apply, but residents of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan and others with financial need are given priority.

With a raised bed, you can grow vegetables in your own backyard

The program will provide participants with a raised bed garden or container gardening kit, (including soil and compost) as well as seeds and plants. Additionally, printed growing guides and workshops are available.

In order to make the beds accessible to all, The Food Project requires a minimum contribution of $10 for individuals ($25 for organizations) for each bed. However, those with the ability to pay more are encouraged to do so to offset the cost of a raised bed for another applicant.

If you're interested in applying, complete the application and return it to the Food Project at 555 Dudley Street, Dorchester, MA 02125. Applications are accepted throughout the year. For more information, email The Food Project.

Environmental Action 2011 Conference

February 24, 2011

ACE is partnering with Toxics Action Center to hold an Environmental Action 2011 event on March 12, 2011, along with Environment Massachusetts, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Clean Water Action, MASSPIRG and MLEV. An ACE team (Whitney, a youth organizer, Gene and Staci, attorneys) will present a panel about air quality. The conference will bring together community activists, organizers, and scientific experts to network, collaborate, and strategize about hot environmental issues.

Join us for the environmental action panel!

We invite you to come and learn, collaborate and be inspired at Environmental Action 2011! The event will take place on Saturday, March 12, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm at Bentley University in Waltham.

We are offering over 20 workshops on skills trainings, issues tracks, and expert advice. These include: Coal-Free 2020, Maintaining Your Team for the Long Haul, and Getting Organics out of the Waste Stream: How to Fight Global Warming, Reduce Trash and Make Landfills Safer.

Thoughts on the State of the Union and Transportation Infrastructure

January 26, 2011

ACE is on the Executive Committee of Transportation for America (T4A) and participates in T4A’s Equity Caucus. The Equity Caucus released this statement about President Obama’s State of the Union address:

We applaud President Obama's State of the Union call for smart, targeted transportation investments that connect all Americans to opportunity.

The infrastructure Americans build, operate, and repair today will create jobs now and lay the foundation for a competitive and prosperous tomorrow. But our inadequate, outdated, and underfunded transportation systems are keeping too many struggling Americans—young and old, rural and urban—from fully connecting and contributing to the national economy.

Transit Injustice Today

Cross-posted at Blue Mass Group.

January 19, 2011

TRU members protesting transit injustice

Martin Luther King Day is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of a great man. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon the goals he worked toward throughout his life: justice, fairness and equity.

Those goals transcend all facets of life: job security and compensation, civil rights, education, and transportation.

American history is rife with transportation injustices, and Massachusetts is no exception. Today, just as in the 50's and 60's, transit-dependent riders in lower-income communities and communities of color are relegated to the back of the bus in terms of funding, prioritization, and service availability.

The Freedom Riders and bus boycotters of the civil rights era were out to make a point: the laws and local customs that enforced segregation were unjust, illegal and inequitable. In many cases, people of color simply attempting to ride a bus were imprisoned.

Take a stand for our communities and vote NO on Questions 1, 2 and 3!

On November 2nd, Massachusetts residents will face three ballot questions that threaten to cut funding and services for our communities. Please vote NO on Questions 1, 2, and 3!

Vote NO on Questions 1, 2, & 3!

Question 1 hurts people

Question 1 would repeal the sales tax on alcohol, which is used to fund alcohol recovery and other health programs. If this ballot question is approved, it would give the alcohol industry a special tax break and eliminate much-needed funding for treatment and education programs benefitting over 100,000 residents. Everyday necessities like food and clothing are already exempt from the state sales tax. Please vote NO on Question 1—protect our services!

Question 2 hurts families

Question 2 would strike down our state’s primary affordable housing law, which provides affordable housing to senior citizens and working families. This law has been responsible for 80 percent of the public housing created in past decade. Repealing the law would hurt families and seniors already struggling with high rents and hurt workers by cutting construction jobs. Read more...

Take action for green jobs and communities!

September 20, 2010

Did you know that every gas and electric bill you pay includes a surcharge to make homes greener? In Boston, this surcharge goes into a fund for energy efficiency work throughout the city, but utility companies disproportionally spend the funds in wealthy neighborhoods. As a member of the citywide Green Justice Coalition (GJC), ACE is demanding that lower-income communities receive a fair shake.

ACE Members conducted outreach on the GJC campaign in Dudley Square last month

So far, the utility companies that serve Massachusetts have promised that the surcharge will provide green jobs and serve 1.9 million Boston residents. However, they have refused to provide data on jobs creation and are over-stating the number of people helped by double-counting residents who have received multiple upgrades.

Using data from the Mass Save Program, the GJC has found that these services have been concentrated in higher-income communities and given to homeowners instead of renters. Read more...

From Detroit to Boston: Strengthening campaigns for first-class public transit

July 8, 2010

By TJ Hellmann, Vice Chair, ACE Board of Directors

This article is appearing in our upcoming T Riders Union (TRU) Newsletter in Spanish

ACE Member TJ (left) representing TRU at the USSF Opening March

From June 22 to June 26, ACE Members involved with our T Riders’ Union (TRU) program traveled to Detroit, Michigan to participate in the United States Social Forum (USSF), along with more than 10,000 other people from around the country. The slogan of the forum was “Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary.”

As people who depend on public transportation, we already know that the system has left us behind, without the resources we need to get ahead and, in many cases, frustrated at the difficult situations faced by our communities. Every time I board a 111 or 116/117 bus – overcrowded, behind schedule, and driven by someone who doesn’t respect the passengers – I know that I can’t sit back with my arms crossed and wait for change. That’s why I joined TRU five years ago. Read more...