ACE Blog

Fighting gentrification through arts and organizing

June 9, 2008

Last Thursday, ACE and REEP attended a Roundtable Discussion hosted by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). The discussion was held in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition of political posters on display in CPA's Henry Wong and You King Yee Memorial Gallery.

Poster from

These posters, from the collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, challenge viewers to grapple with the intertwined effects of gentrification and displacement.

Coalition members from more than ten different community-based organizations, including ACE, gathered to discuss the Right to the City framework within the context of gentrification. As the discussion developed, a number of participants expressed an interest in reviving the Whose Boston? campaign and coalition. Two particular ideas brought forward were refocusing to build a citywide message that our communities are here to stay, and strengthening it by linking more socially conscious artists with organizers. Read more...

Beat the heat – plant a free tree!

June 6, 2008

Additional trees will provide more shade and cleaner air

As our first heat wave begins in Boston, consider planting a tree to keep things green, shady, and cool. Planting trees does more than beautify neighborhoods. Well positioned trees drastically reduce energy bills by providing shade for buildings. They also provide millions of dollars worth of air purification, reducing local pollution and respiratory problems.

According to a report from the Urban Ecology Institute, Roxbury has a tree canopy cover of 23 percent and adjacent North Dorchester has a cover of 18 percent. These figures aren't bad, but are nowhere near the number of trees in Jamaica Plain (42 percent cover) or West Roxbury (49 percent cover). Read more...

Police searches: keeping us safe or destroying our rights?

June 4, 2008

State Senator Wilkerson speaks against the so called Safe Homes Initiative

Yesterday, a group of over 30 individuals met at the Freedom House in Grove Hall for Come Get Your Rights On – What You Need to Know about Police Searches, the third meeting in a series of forums discussing the Safe Homes Initiative. The program included a keynote speech from the National Black Police Association Executive Director Ronald Hampton, a response from Senator Dianne Wilkerson, and an informative panel including attorneys and community organizations.

The Safe Homes Initiative is a program initiated by the mayor and the Boston Police Department to respond to tips and remove illegal guns. This involves a team of at least three police officers, and possibly members of the clergy, visiting homes to ask for consent to search the bedrooms of young people. Read more...

Roxbury development may involve green jobs

June 3, 2008

Map of Parcels 8, 9, and 10

Last Thursday, the Roxbury Master Plan Committee held the third in a series of meetings to gather community input for developing the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Washington Street (see map). About 35 people attended the event, which was led by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. While there was not complete consensus about the community's vision for the development of these parcels, many residents were dedicated to the generation of green jobs. Read more...

Walkable streets are liveable streets

May 30, 2008

Today is the Green Street Initiative's monthly Walk/Ride Day. ACE believes that walkable streets are essential for promoting clean, green, and healthy communities.

Making sidewalks, streets, and crosswalks safe and accessible for pedestrians has important benefits for our communities. Improved pedestrian access to local businesses helps neighborhood economies. Encouraging residents to walk instead of drive saves gas, keeping air quality and the environment cleaner. Walkability promotes regular exercise, great for health and encouraging neighbors to interact with each other.

Last year, the Brookings Institute rated the Boston area as second in the nation in terms of walkability. A report released yesterday ranked Boston at number three. While these are nice rankings, more important is that all of Boston's communities can benefit from healthy, walkable communities.

Top 10 reasons to attend Jammin' for Justice

May 28, 2008

As you know, ACE's Annual Celebration and Fundraiser is tonight, at the Red Fez, from 6-9 p.m. If we haven't convinced you to come from the previous days' blogs, here's a few more reasons...

Come join us at Jammin' tonight, May 28, 2008

#10 – Hey why not, it's free! If you feel moved to donate, we'll be passing a hat around during the program where you can give as much or as little as you want. Food and soda are also provided and we'll have a cash bar.

#9 – Everyone is welcome! This is a family-friendly event in a wheelchair-accessible location. Childcare is provided offsite at a nearby community center. Drop your kids off and head to the Fez. We'll bring them there at the end of the night.

#8 – We're public transit and car accessible. Free parking is available in the restaurant's back lot and the Silver Line bus runs right down Washington Street, connecting to the Red, Orange and Green Lines and Dudley Square.

#7 – The fantastic music. Our playlist has been compiled from our diverse staff, board, members and youth, so there's bound to be something in the mix that appeals to you, or new music that piques your interest.

#6 – Bragging rights: Your friends and family will thank you for bringing them. Years down the line you can say, "Remember that time I brought you to the ACE party at the Red Fez?" and they will say, "OMG, that was great! You're the best!" Read more...

Local attorney to win Pro Bono Advocate Award

May 27, 2008

Sidra M. Vitale

As you know from recent blogs, we will be highlighting our Jammin' awardees leading up to the event tomorrow. Today’s selected honoree is Sidra M. Vitale, Esq.

Sidra Vitale is an attorney on a one-year fellowship at the New England School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 2007. She is tirelessly working with ACE’s Legal Counsel as pro bono co-counsel for the Brockton and West Bridgewater residents fighting to stop the construction of a fossil fuel power plant in Brockton.


Roxbury High School to win award for EJ work

May 26, 2008

New Mission students on the Unity for the Community panel

As you know from Thursday's blog, we will be highlighting our Jammin' awardees leading up to the event this Wednesday. Today’s selected honoree is New Mission High School.

The seniors at New Mission have devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to four projects this year: affordable housing and gentrification, MBTA service, youth violence and the BU Bioterrorism Lab. This month, these service learning projects were presented as videos, workshops, poems and information booths in a public forum called Unity for the Community. The event culminated in a panel focusing on the relationship between teens and police, and how to cultivate a more respectful, cooperative dialogue. Read more...

Boston teen to win award for transit work

May 23, 2008

As you know from yesterday's blog, we will be highlighting our Jammin' awardees leading up to the event next Wednesday. Today’s selected honoree is TRU member Stuart Spina.

Stuart (middle, speaking) tells reporters and T officials how to improve buses

Stuart’s involvement with the T Riders Union (TRU) began with a chance encounter last summer. In June 2007, he was at Dudley Square Bus Station conducting his own research on bus service and came across a TRU organizer doing outreach. He realized that we were working on the same issues, decided to attend a meeting, and as he says, "the rest is history!"

In the past year he has become a prominent face at the ACE office, TRU events and MBTA board meetings. At a recent press conference Stuart presented his research on twelve bus routes in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan, which he collected over nine months of observations. This report caught the attention of the MBTA, and they offered him a summer internship in scheduling and service planning. Read more...