ACE Blog

Gentrification in Chinatown today

April 28, 2008


Chinatown is one of the fastest growing communities in Boston. Over the last ten years, the neighborhood has seen dramatic change. Despite the growth, issues of gentrification, job opportunities, and immigration still affect Chinatown today. Local day laborers hang around, waiting for restaurants to hire them for a days work. Because of language barriers, many residents lack the skills and resources to land jobs elsewhere.

This jeopardizes their living standards since the many new luxury high rises base rents on the average income ($20,000-35,000) of Boston. The actual average income for Chinatown is only $15,000. Read more...

How will green jobs benefit our communities?

April 25, 2008

Due to the influence of scholar/activists like Van Jones, "green-collar jobs" has become a buzz phrase. But to what extent will this mixture of environmental activism and corporate America help to revitalize underprivileged communities across the U.S.?

Aaron Tanaka of the Boston Workers' Alliance has recently published an article describing some of the challenges and opportunities associated with the green jobs industry, and how that relates to Dr. King's vision for the abolition of poverty. Tananka writes, "We should ask whether CO2 reduction would simply add to the coffers of large corporations, or whether green collar jobs can represent real pathways out of poverty." Read more...

Introducing ACE member Naomi Spector

April 24, 2008

Ever wonder who writes some of our blogs? Meet Naomi Spector, an ACE volunteer since last fall who has come in on a weekly basis to help out. She is an excellent writer and we are so lucky to have her be a part of the ACE family. Thanks for all your hard work Naomi!

By Naomi Spector, ACE member

I have been a volunteer at ACE for several months now, as part of an independent study in science at my high school in Brookline. I became interested in social justice issues at a young age and began working last year with Centro Presente, an organization dedicated to the empowerment of the Latin American immigrant community. At Centro I teach citizenship classes in Spanish for people who wish to pass the naturalization exam, an experience that has opened my eyes to the obstacles, hardships and sometimes injustices that so many in our community face. Read more...

Local Aramark employees rally for health care

April 23, 2008

Rene at UNITE rally

More than 500 UNITE-HERE Local 26 union members and allies rallied in front of Hynes Convention Center yesterday in solidarity with convention center workers currently fighting for a fair contract with Aramark, a national food service corporation. Aramark employees at Hynes are the only workers unionized through Local 26 who still are not provided health care or a pension. They have also worked without a contract for the past four months. They are now demanding the same treatment that their fellow workers receive in comparable positions from hotels and restaurants across Massachusetts.

Workers and allies held a picket line in front of the convention center for nearly two hours, chanting "Si, Se Puede!" and "No Contract, No Peace!" to the beat of an impromptu four-drum band. At its peak, the crowd nearly enveloped the entire block with a sea of red UNITE-HERE T-shirts. Read more...

Earth Day Action: Call your senator!

April 22, 2008

Have you taken action to help pass the Diesel Bill in Massachusetts? The Diesel Bill will require diesel fleets to retrofit - install affordable pollution control equipment - on trucks to cut emissions by 90 percent. As a member of the Massachusetts Diesel Pollution Solution Coalition, ACE is working to reduce pollution in our neighborhoods that can lead to diseases like asthma. See this new video for footage of the work youth across the region are doing to pass the Diesel Bill.

Handel Dixon speaks at Diesel Emissions Demonstration

Today, REEP Youth Organizer Handel Dixon (also featured in the video) met with Senator Jack Hart (Diesel Bill Sponsor), representatives of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and youth from Chelsea and East Boston as part of the Youth Lobby Day to discuss this legislation. Stay tuned for updates on the bill's progress and turn your sets to Fox25 this Thursday at 10 and 11 p.m. for a story on diesel emissions in our home neighborhood of Roxbury. Please pick up the phone today - a simple call to your senator will help ensure clean air for all our communities. Read more...

Toxic sludge tested in poor neighborhoods

April 18, 2008

This week the Associated Press reported that researchers in Baltimore have been testing sludge as a method of lessening the harmful effects of lead-filled soil. Unfortunately, residents of the lower income community of color where this testing took place were never warned of the risks of having their yards covered in this mix of human and industrial waste.

Federally funded researchers told nine lower income families in Baltimore row houses that their yards were contaminated with lead and dangerous for their children. They then offered to treat the soil with a fertilizer that would trap heavy metal, promising that the mixture was safe and claiming that it was store bought. In exchange, the researchers distributed food coupons and planted lawns. The potentially hazardous sludge had never been tested for safety and studies on the health of children who played in the yards was never done. Read more...

“Unsung Hero” award honors ACE Board Chair

April 17, 2008

ACE Board Chair Bob Terrell

Great news! ACE Board Chair Robert Terrell won the 2008 Boston Neighborhood Fellows Award which honors "unsung heroes" who have made a difference in the community. The Boston Neighborhood Fellows Program "provides recognition and direct financial support to individuals of creativity, vision and leadership who work in community service in Greater Boston."

Bob is the Coordinator for On the Move Coalition, a group of organizations working for transit justice across the region. He has been a tireless advocate for transit issues in the communities we serve. Read more...

Dorchester residents block eviction and win!

April 16, 2008

CLVU housing rally

This morning’s City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) rally was a historic victory for housing justice. Around 75 people gathered in front of 200 Norfolk Street in Dorchester, where Wells Fargo Bank planned on evicting the Meyers families. That included four brothers and sisters, six children and a licensed day care center. Each household had offered to pay rent, but the bank refused to accept it. Alister Meyers had even offered to buy the building at full appraised value but the bank refused his offer and proceeded with the eviction process. CLVU, a Boston based community organization fighting for tenants’ rights, mobilized a rally and blockade to prevent the eviction from happening. A number of participants had agreed to risk arrest by blocking the entrance to the Meyers’ home with their bodies.

Luckily, Wells Fargo backed down after learning of the organizing efforts. The company has agreed to enter negotiations and will most likely sell the property to Alister Meyers at the appraised value. The rally anticipating confrontation became a celebration of victory, with reflections on the work ahead. Representative Willie May Allen spoke about her fight for legislation that would place a moratorium on foreclosures. Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner addressed the crowd on the importance of challenging the root causes of these evictions, and working toward a society where communities and people take precedence over profit margins. Read more...

Inequalities discussed in transit blog

April 15, 2008

We thought we’d take a moment to feature the No Free Transfer blog that posts updates on MBTA news and photographs of Boston train lines. An interesting post reviewed the opening of the Mattapan High Speed line, which used to be free but now charges $1.70 for a trip. While this line connects Mattapan residents to the Ashmont track of the Red Line, the MBTA does not offer a free transfer. For riders in lower-income Mattapan, this means paying double for every trip connecting to the subway, whereas riders of the Green, Red, Orange and Blue lines can transfer as much as they like, for free. Read more...

Immigration from a youth perspective

April 14, 2008

A new video by Sally Kohn at the Movement Vision Lab features the story of Juan, a bright and confident young man recently graduated from high school who fears he will soon be deported because he came to the United States when he was six years old. At two and a half minutes, Juan's interview highlights a U.S. immigration policy that lacks humanity and deprives bright and talented immigrants from fulfilling their dreams.

Watch the interview to hear Juan’s All-American story and read an essay Sally has written about immigration and the politics of fear. Read more…