ACE Blog

TRU Newsletter May/June 2010: Ahora en Español!

May 19, 2010

The new T Riders’ Union (TRU) newsletter is now available online, in Spanish! Don't miss the news about our meeting with the MBTA, our Latino committee and our newest members. To see information on our campaigns and actions in English, see the TRU site, our Facebook page and our YouTube channel about transit justice. For more information, contact René.

Members of TRU march for a more just transit system. Miembros del Sindicato de Pasajeros marchan por un sistema de transporte que sea más justo.

El informativo más reciente del Sindicato de Pasajeros está disponible online, ¡en español! No se pierda la información sobre nuestra reunión con la MBTA, el nuevo comité Latino y los miembros nuevos del sindicato. Para aprender sobre nuestras campañas y acciones en inglés, vaya al sitio del Sindicato, al grupo de Facebook y a nuestro canal de YouTube. Para más información, póngase en contacto con René.

Honoring Howard Zinn

May 11, 2010

Here at ACE, we add our voice to the nationwide tribute of Howard Zinn, who led by his example and inspired us and several generations of American activists.

“He so believed in America that he believed it could transcend itself. He lifted up alternative futures, and insisted they were possible.”

      • —James Carroll, The Boston Globe, February 1, 2010
Howard Zinn (picture from

On January 27, 2010, the world lost one its most outspoken voices for social justice, historian and activist Howard Zinn. Best known as the author of A People's History of the United States, Zinn dedicated his life to the telling of history from the perspective of those who stood in opposition to the schemes of the powerful: those who fought against slavery and Jim Crow, who opposed war and militarism, who participated in the struggles of the working class, who demanded equality for women and the LGBTQ community, and many others.

He sought to use history in service of the creation of a more just world, once explaining, "I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it." Read more...

New EJ report profiles organizing efforts in the green economy

March 29, 2010

"…For the first time in over 10 years my grandchildren can play outside in the yard and I don’t have to worry...I can plant in the ground and eat what I grow. I don’t have to worry about my basement flooding anymore and getting rashes on my skin when I touch the water."

—Little Village resident Martha Castellon

Environmental Justice and the Green Economy - Back cover

This victory is the result of a decade long struggle by members of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), a grassroots group in Chicago leading efforts to clean up a superfund site. Profiled in our new report, Environmental Justice and the Green Economy, LVEJO's campaign shows how strong grassroots organizing can lead to achievements like securing the clean up of nearly 200 homes that went "above and beyond the federal levels of remediation."

Residents of lower income communities and communities of color like Little Village have been advancing a vision of sustainability and equality through the environmental justice movement. Eight of these stories are shared in our report by a group of U.S. environmental justice leaders, including ACE Executive Director Kalila Barnett and former director Penn Loh. Read more...

Remember to vote today!

September 22, 2009

Sign at a polling station in Dorchester

It's primary day in Boston, where voters will trim the list of candidates for mayor and city council. If you haven't already, please remember to vote! Polls are open until 8:00 p.m.

See a voter guide by Jamaica Plain Progressives that surveys mayoral and city council candidates on issues like education, transportation and youth violence.

Check your polling station and find out more from the city's Election Division. To register to vote, learn about absentee ballots and see upcoming candidate forums, see MassVOTE, non-partisan voting rights organization. Read more...

Major victory in Youth Way on the MBTA campaign!

September 10, 2009

A new school year, a new student pass

REEP with a sample Youth Pass

Due to the hard work of young people in the Youth Way on the MBTA campaign - which includes members of the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) and Boston Youth Organizing Project (BYOP) - the student transit pass has now been extended from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

This change helps youth get home safely who travel past 8:00 p.m. due to jobs, study halls, after school programs and sports. Previously, young people who could not afford extra fares would be stranded in the evenings.

Because of the many restrictions on the student pass, Youth Way estimates that less than 15 percent of Boston-area youth use the pass. Making the pass more usable for young people will boost sales of the pass and encourage use of public transportation. Read more...

Fix MBTA funding! An open letter from TRU

August 5, 2009

An open letter to Senator Stephen Baddour, Representative Joseph Wagner, Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi, Jr., the MBTA Board of Directors, and MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas

Dear Leaders:

Taisha at a rally to bail out T riders

I am writing on behalf of the T Riders Union (TRU), a program of the nearly 700-member organization, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). We are also a member of the On the Move (OTM) Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition. TRU works with riders directly, many of whom are bus riders in two committees: in East Boston/Chelsea and in Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan. We believe in a public transit system that serves all riders equally. Now is a critical time in the Commonwealth to work together to achieve a more affordable, accountable, accessible, reliable, green and sustainable MBTA.

Recent media attention has exposed the differences between Secretary Aloisi and General Manager Grabauskas. This has caught the attention of the MBTA board, Senator Baddour, and others. TRU believes we need to refocus our attention on the real issue; bailing the T out of its debt so that riders won’t have to suffer the unfair burden of the Big Dig anymore. Read more...

Represent EJ neighborhoods to the United Nations

July 9, 2009

Photo courtesy of Word Wide Views on Global Warming

In November, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark and discuss global climate policy to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol.

UN representatives are incorporating citizens input by holding the first-ever global deliberation on international policy, a series of events called World Wide Views on Global Warming. At these unique conferences, citizens from 46 countries will meet to discuss how climate change affects their region. Facilitators will report back to the United Nations with the results from these meetings.

One hundred residents from Greater Boston will be selected to represent this region, and eligible applicants will receive a stipend for participating. The form is easy to fill out (mostly check boxes) and is open to anyone 18 and over. Read more...

ACE staffer joins state Climate Change Committee

June 18, 2009

ACE Legal Counsel Eugene Benson and ACE member and Chelsea Green Space Director Roseann Bongiovanni were recently appointed to the state’s Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee by Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles.

 Kirshen et al., 2007. Coastal Flooding in the Northeastern United States due to Climate Change

The Committee is required by the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act to submit a report to the legislature by December 2009 on strategies to prepare for rising sea levels, warmer temperatures, increased floods and droughts and other predicted impacts from climate change. Roseann and Gene both serve on the Health and Human Welfare Subcommittee. Read more...

YouthShines Art Auction coming up!

May 27, 2009

Bid on pieces by youth artists to support the Youth Workers Alliance!

On June 3, the South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers Alliance (YWA) will host its annual fundraiser, the YouthShines! Art Auction, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Ben Franklin Institute at 41 Berkeley Street in Boston. The Art Auction is a chance for Boston child and teen artists to show their masterpieces and raise funds for youth work. The event will have snacks and an open bar, a silent auction and a live auction hosted by David Brown of WCVB-TV. Read more...