ACE Blog

ACE youth and members head to the US Social forum!

June 21, 2010

Come find us at the USSF!

More than 40 ACE members and organizers will be attending the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit this week to connect with people across the country working on issues like improving public transit, youth organizing and green jobs. The USSF is an incredible opportunity to share knowledge and strengthen a national movement for social and environmental justice.

Over the next five days, we will be participating in workshops and events, and holding spaces to foster dialogue and learning. REEP Youth will lead a workshop on transit justice at the Youth Space organized by the National Youth Working Group. Right to the City, a coalition that includes ACE, will hold an Urban Forum and a People’s Congress to discuss gentrification and displacement. We’ll also be connecting with other groups organizing for first class public transit to collaborate and share information on our campaigns.

The ACE crew is part of a 250 person contingent, including 150 youth, representing 32 organizations traveling together by bus to Detroit. Over the past few months, we’ve been preparing for our collective work and combining fundraising efforts to send folks to the forum. Read more...

In memory of Ivol Brown: A call to action

June 14, 2010

Two weeks ago, we lost a beloved member of our community, Ivol Brown. Ivol was many things: A son and a brother. A parishioner and a student. An artist, a guide and an organizer. He was a questioner. He was an Ella and a Malcolm to be. He was 17.

Ivol Brown speaking at a rally for youth jobs in Boston

Ivol’s life and death is a story of redemption cut painfully short. At age 14, he was thrown out of school for selling drugs. Shortly after, he was approached by a youth worker who offered him a job. He took the opportunity.

Three years later, he was working three jobs to help support his family, was active in his church and had taken a leadership role in the youth jobs campaign. Ivol believed deeply that every young person should have the opportunity to work for something they believed in, to turn their lives around the way he had.

ACE stands with Ivol, his family, his pastor, the Campaign to Save Youth Jobs and our partners (and his employers) YouthAim! and The City School. Our elected officials need to know that the time to fund youth employment is now, before any more lives are lost!

In 2002 and 2003, Massachusetts and the City of Boston made devastating cuts to youth employment, violence prevention and outreach programs. In 2006, the Boston City Council established what youth leaders had been saying for years: There is a strong correlation between the decrease in youth employment and the increase in shootings.

More than 700 young people, including youth from REEP and a dozen other organizations asked policy makers at a 2007 City Hall rally, "Who's Next?" In public hearings we pleaded, "Don't wait 'till we're dead!" As part of the United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston coalition, REEP youth helped restore several million dollars for youth employment. Still, the Commonwealth and the City refused to restore funding to the 2001 level.

CORI reform bill passes the House!

June 11, 2010

May 2010 rally at the State House for CORI reform

Two weeks ago, Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform passed the House thanks to the tireless efforts of the Commonwealth CORI Coalition (CCC), an alliance of over 90 organizations working to end limitations on public housing, loans and employment for people with a CORI.

The reforms also received broad support from law enforcement agencies and Governor Patrick, who said in 2008, "CORI was never intended to turn every offense into a life sentence."

Passing these reforms means reduced crime, increased revenue and a second chance for many people. State spending on prison, probation and parole has been increasing while repeat offenses have also been rising. CORI reform is a departure from the "tough on crime" attitude to a "smart on crime" attitude. In both the House and Senate version of the bills (the Senate passed a reform bill in November), CORIs will now be sealed after five years for misdemeanors and after 10 years for felonies, reduced from 10 and 15 years respectively. Read more...

See you tonight at Jammin' for Justice!

May 26, 2010

Finally, what we've all been waiting for: Jammin’ for Justice is tonight! We hope you’ll join us at Hibernian Hall (184 Dudley Street, Roxbury) from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

In case you need some convincing...

Free admission! If you feel moved to donate, we'll be passing a hat around during the program for your convenience. Food and drinks are provided and free parking is available on-street or in nearby lots. We'll also be right by Dudley Station, with multiple bus lines and connections to the Silver Line Bus on Washington Street. Check out more detailed directions.

Delicious food! Caribbean-style eats will be provided by Ethnica Catering, from Jerk Chicken Wings to Red Beans & Rice to Fish & Black-Eyed Pea Fritters. Come on, your mouth is watering just thinking about it! Read more...

Congratulations to Dorchester Bay Youth Force!

May 24, 2010

Today’s Jammin' for Justice Environmental Justice Award honoree is Dorchester Bay Youth Force.

Dorchester Bay Youth Force in action!

In 2008, Dorchester Bay Youth Force joined a city-wide campaign to stop youth violence, organized by the United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston coalition. Members of Youth Force met with local banks and businesses in Upham's Corner and raised several thousand dollars for a youth jobs fund.

In spring 2009, after significant state budget cuts to jobs funding, Youth Force and REEP organized an emergency gathering, bringing together dozens of Boston teens to strategize an immediate response to the cuts. When the state did not restore the budget for youth jobs and violence prevention programs, the United coalition decided to formally dissolve.

Determined to bring back funding before the impacts of the cuts were felt, Youth Force members began meeting in the fall with youth programs across the city. Read more...

Congratulations to the Boston Grants Initiative!

May 22, 2010

Today’s Jammin' for Justice Environmental Justice Award honoree is the Boston Grants Initiative.

Staff of The New England Grassroots Environment Fund which administers the Boston Grants Initiative

The Boston Grants Initiative (BGI), administered by The New England Grassroots Environment Fund, provides grants to groups working on environmental justice, environmental health, green space and other projects in the greater metro neighborhoods of Boston, Chelsea, Somerville, and Cambridge. BGI interprets the word "environment" broadly and supports a wide range of activities focused on making our environment better, healthier and more sustainable. Read more...