ACE Blog

Congratulations to Michelle McGruder

May 23, 2009

Today, we'd like to share with you the final recipient of ACE's 2009 Environmental Justice Awards. Thanks for your hard work Michelle!

Environmental Justice Award 2009
Michelle McGruder

As an organizer, advocate and caring mother, Michelle has led the T Riders Union (TRU) with much knowledge and insight. Her dedication to fighting racism, classism and oppression has taken her from schools to the T to the streets in our communities.

Michelle's passion for outreach means she has a relationship with just about everyone in Dudley Square, helping to connect ACE's organizing work to our base.

Michelle has been involved with ACE for many years, starting with transit issues and the Healthy Hair Show in the late '90s. In 2008, she successfully applied for the TRU Member Internship Position, supporting our work for an affordable and sustainable public transit system. Michelle completed the 300 hour program, during which time she assumed the TRU Chairperson role, serving in this capacity for almost ten months.

Congratulations to Ian Phillips, LSP

May 21, 2009

Last night, hundreds of ACE supporters celebrated with us at Jammin' for Justice 2009. Thank you to everyone for helping to make the event a great success! We'll share photos soon; in the meantime, congrats to Ian for receiving an EJ Award!

Ian Phillips, LSP wins 2009 Environmental Justice Award

Environmental Justice Award 2009
Ian Phillips, LSP

Ian is a “go to” environmental expert for ACE. He is a chemist and as a Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional, he is certified by the state as an expert on environmental clean-ups.

Ian is one of over 50 environmental technical experts who work pro bono for neighborhood groups who come to ACE for help with environmental issues. A Principal Scientist at Roux Associates in Burlington with over 20 years of experience, he is always available to answer questions and make recommendations.

As a member of the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Assistance Network (MEJAN), Ian has volunteered his skills to neighborhood groups grappling with complex issues. In South Boston, he helped Neighborhood First! deal with a potential clean-up of a former power station owned by the MBTA. Read more...

Congratulations to Brockton and West Bridgewater residents

May 17, 2008

ACE’s annual celebration and fundraiser, Jammin' for Justice, is this Wednesday, May 20. Members and supporters will be sharing our 15th Anniversary with delicious food, a live band, silent auction and many projects on display. This is our opportunity to also showcase our members’ outstanding environmental justice work over the last year. In the next few days we will be highlighting our 2009 honorees. Today’s selected honoree is Brockton and West Bridgewater Residents Against the Power Plant.

An Energy Facilities Siting Board hearing on the power plant last summer

In November 2007, residents of West Bridgewater asked ACE for assistance fighting a proposed fossil fuel burning power plant in nearby Brockton. Residents of Brockton also contacted ACE for assistance against the power plant.

After meeting with ACE, the two groups agreed to work together, with ACE providing legal advice and representation to the residents.

Since then, the residents and their allies have organized their communities, creating an active and vocal opposition to the power plant. They helped persuade the Mayor of Brockton, almost all the Brockton City Council, and their state senator and representatives to oppose the power plant. Read more...

New bus service, but still not rapid transit

Silver Line bus Mattapan expansion plan, photo courtesy EOT

May 4, 2009

The Patrick administration announced today in Dudley Square that it was providing stimulus funds for extensions of the Silver Line bus to Mattapan and South Station.

The T Riders Union and our partners in On the Move believe that using stimulus funds for better public transit is essential and improving transit in our communities is a vital investment.

It is also important for residents to have input in those plans. We are calling for the appointment of a community advisory board to work with the administration on implementing transportation improvements in our communities.

We are also asking the Governor to invest in a plan to bring real rapid transit – rail service - to our communities.

13 Lessons I learned at ACE

April 30, 2009

What a busy couple of months it's been! There has been a lot of work going on at ACE that we'll update you on soon. In the meantime, here are some wise words for you to enjoy, adapted from a speech our previous Director Penn Loh gave at his farewell party on March 4.

Penn receiving his 'professor gear' gag gift at the farewell party

. . . . .

13 Lessons I learned at ACE

by Penn Loh

On January 22, 1996 I started my journey at ACE, as our fifth staff person.

As Research and Development Director, I was the first dedicated fundraising staff with half of my time spent on grantwriting and donor fundraising, while the other half was spent supporting all the programs with technical and research assistance.

When our co-founders stepped down in 1998 and hired a new Executive Director, I became the Associate Director. Then, at the end of 1999, I was appointed Director. Read more...

Governor announces Transportation and Economic Security Plan

February 23, 2009

ACE member Michelle with Governor Patrick after the press conference

At a press conference on Friday, Governor Patrick announced a broad set of goals for transportation funding and reforms. Although the proposed six cents per gallon of new gas tax revenue dedicated to the MBTA may not be enough pay down the $2.7 million backlog of system maintenance and repair, the Governor's plan is a step in the right direction.

Our legislature must act now to prevent the imminent MBTA fare increases and service cuts. We support a combination of additional revenue to the MBTA, restructuring and reform, while making concrete improvements for T riders. For example, the Governor has called broadly for increased accountability. Read more...

TRU legislation to stop fare increases and service cuts

February 20, 2009

At last week's MBTA Board Meeting the Massachusetts Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, Jr. offered a grim look at where the T is headed. Without both reform and new revenue, the T is destined for "an endless spiral of fare increases and massive service cuts." State lawmakers must act immediately and decisively to avoid:

TRU working to stave off potentially dire situation for riders
  • Increases in fares of 20 to 25 percent
  • 50 percent cuts in evening and weekend subway and commuter rail service
  • Elimination of the 20 highest net-cost-per-passenger bus routes
  • Elimination of RIDE van service to nine communities
  • Along with other consequences that will harm those who rely on the MBTA

Transporting riders to employment and employment opportunities, education, health care, shopping, culture and recreation destinations is vital to keeping Boston's economic engine running. Nearly 35 percent of Boston residents do not own a car, and over 32 percent of Boston residents use the T to get to work. The T also plays a crucial role in reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Read more...

Civil rights battle rejoined

February 11, 2009

Excerpts from the new civil rights bill

In the afterglow of a historic inaugural, it's tempting to view the necessity of fighting for Civil Rights as an archaic call to arms.

But for progressives immersed in the mechanics of changing lives, it serves as a milestone, not a destination: While much has been accomplished, much needs to be done.

In Massachusetts, a new bill addressing equality, an Act to Restore Enforcement of Civil Rights, sponsored by Representative Byron Rushing and State Senator James Eldridge, was introduced in the state legislature last month. ACE is a founding member of a large and growing coalition of organizations supporting the bill because we believe it will help achieve environmental justice.

If passed, the bill would grant people the right to sue in state court if a state program or policy has a disparate impact based on race, color, national origin or gender. The bill would fill a void in Massachusetts civil rights laws. Read more...