ACE Blog

Bilingual ballots campaign heats up

July 11, 2008

Wednesday, Governor Deval Patrick signed an executive order launching a statewide initiative to help immigrants integrate better. Yesterday, he spoke at a citizenship ceremony in Faneuil Hall about the New Americans Initiative.

Organizers rallied at the voting registration tables for bilingual ballots

Modeled after an Illinois program, the initiative draws together a committee that will hold public meetings on the impact and experiences of immigrants in the state. In one year, the committee will report back with policy suggestions to further acclimate Massachusetts immigrants.

This afternoon, members of the Coalition for Asian American Voting Rights (CAAVR) and volunteers from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition gathered outside the Great Hall to register the newly naturalized citizens to vote. Representatives from CAAVR also carried signs calling for fully bilingual ballots, another action in the Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots campaign. Read more...

The People’s Assembly demands corporate responsibility

July 10, 2008

Kalila Barnett of CLU speaks to the assembly

Yesterday the Secure Jobs, Secure Communities campaign of Community Labor United (CLU) hosted a People’s Assembly at the First Church of Roxbury. Partner organizations include ACORN, Boston Worker’s Alliance, City Life/Vida Urbana, District 7 Roundtable, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA), SEIU Local 615, Union of Minority Neighborhoods and the United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston. The campaign committee tackles issues in working class communities in Boston such as foreclosure, eviction, youth violence, youth opportunities, CORI reform, job access and unemployment.

The committee is calling on The Blackstone Group, the largest land owner in the city of Boston, to contribute $1 for every square foot of property they own back into the community. If this goal is met, Blackstone will provide over $11 million for a community fund. Read more...

National popular vote bill aims to change Electoral College

July 9, 2008

Today the Massachusetts House will vote on House Bill 678, also known as the National Popular Vote Bill. This bill aims to prevent presidential victory by any candidate who loses the national popular vote. In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election; five times in the nation’s history the winner of the popular vote has relinquished the presidency to the winner of the Electoral College.

The National Popular Vote Bill could change how presidential elections are run

Under the current Electoral College system, each state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who wins the majority of the popular vote in that state. Candidates can expect to win a majority in certain "non-battleground" states, like Massachusetts and Texas. Swing states, or battleground states, like Michigan and Ohio do not always vote blue or red, which means candidates will spend more time and money on them. Candidate attention correlates with voter turn out; more attention usually results in more voters at the polls come election day. Read more...

Community-owned green enterprises in Boston

July 8, 2008

Last week, the third session of the Green Jobs Working Group was held downtown, bringing together a range of groups including ACE, the Boston Workers Alliance, ACORN, the Chinese Progressive Association and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. This session focused on developing green jobs and businesses in the Boston area.

Working towards sustainable green businesses in Boston

Participants broke into small groups to explore possible business ideas, including biofuels, energy service, a Boston branch of Co-Op Power, solar installation and green landscaping. Each group will work towards creating comprehensive development plans and began developing future goals. For instance, the organic landscaping group plans on connecting with CDCs and conducting community outreach while the Co-Op Power group aims to have over 1,000 members signed on by the end of the year. Read more...

Take action for CORI reform before July 31

July 7, 2008

Over the past three years, our partner organization, the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) has worked tirelessly to reform Criminal Offense Record Information (CORI). Now, the chance to make real change is before us as the state legislature is bringing a CORI reform bill to vote before summer recess on July 31.

Hundreds march for CORI reform

Representative Eugene O'Flaherty, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, is proposing a bill that reduces the CORI sealing periods to five years for misdemeanors and ten years for a felony. While this is a good first step, the BWA continues to build support to bring the sealing period down to three and seven years respectively.

Currently, many employers use applications that require a potential employee to divulge their criminal history. Because of this application question, employers are 50 percent less likely to offer interviews to white applicants and 64 percent less likely to call back black applicants with a record. Providing criminal history on job applications prevents employers from considering resumes, references or relevance of the offense. CORIs include people with juvenile records, people arrested but not convicted and people cleared of charges. Read more...

New laws in Massachusetts may promote green jobs

July 3, 2008

On Thursday, Mayor Menino issued an executive order to green City Hall, requiring city departments to use green cleaning contractors, recycle more, and take simple energy conservation measures.

A vision for Dudley from our public art project at EJ in the 'Hood

This order came one day after Governor Patrick signed into law the Green Communities Act. The new state law strengthens Massachusetts' renewable energy standard so that by 2030, utilities will be obligated to generate at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. It also forces utilities to enter into 10 to 15 year contracts with sustainable electricity developers. This will provide funding for the development of green technology, focusing specifically on Massachusetts-based firms.

The Governor asserted, "This legislation will reduce electric bills, promote the development of renewable energy, and stimulate the clean energy industry that is taking root here in the Commonwealth."

ACE believes that all communities should share the benefits of this new wave of green legislation. Cleaner energy production and the benefits of new green collar jobs should go to communities that have been overburdened with environmental injustices, not just higher income neighborhoods. Read more...

Check out the Radical Organizing Conference Summer Institute

July 2, 2008

A gentrification workshop from ROC this spring

ACE is helping to roll out the Radical Organizing Conference (ROC) Summer Institute, which builds on the dialog from the ROC this spring. The Summer Institute is series of workshops that will continue to bring people together to build relationships, common understanding and united strategies to make radical social change for our communities.

You're invited to participate in these sessions that cover a broad range of social justice issues. Workshops are free and are conducted by ACE, City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) and UNITE HERE! Local 26. Read more...