ACE Blog

Elections tomorrow: Where do city council candidates stand?

November 2, 2015

Thanks for coming to our Annual Meeting!
Thank you for making our Annual Meeting such a blast last week! We're happy to introduce Genea Foster as our newest board member and look forward to her leadership and guidance. We also thank departing board members Neenah Estrella-Luna and Donna Dear for their many years of service as their terms come to a close.

Join us to follow up on our development and gentrification discussions next Thursday, November 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. New to ACE? You're invited to our People's Power Seminar on Saturday, November 14 for an orientation and Toxic Tour.

Don't forget to vote on Election Day tomorrow, November 3! For those of you who are registered in Boston, please check the position of city council candidates on key issues like affordable housing, raising the minimum wages and expanding youth jobs. See MassVOTE's questionnaire.

Also, the councilors and candidates that Right to the City - Boston has on record for supporting our Just Cause Eviction policy are:

Marching for a Just Cause Eviction policy Councilors:
Frank Baker (District 3)
Michael Flaherty (At-Large)
Tito Jackson (District 7)
Stephen Murphy (At-Large)
Ayanna Pressley (At-Large)
Michelle Wu (At-Large)
Charles Yancey (District 4)

Andrea Campbell (District 4)
Charles Clemons (District 7)
Annissa Essaibi-George (At-Large)

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information, check your Massachusetts polling location and see sample Boston ballots.

Annual Meeting next Thursday

October 20, 2015
Join us at our Annual Meeting!
We're looking forward to seeing you at our Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 29! We're excited to share our plans and goals for the next year, elect Board members and celebrate our work together over dinner.

We'll also continue conversations on gentrification and displacement from the Right to Remain Assembly earlier this month, where hundreds of our members and partners in Right to the City - Boston came together to demand a Just Cause Eviction policy in Boston.

Marching for a Just Cause Eviction policy Residents shared how extreme rent increases and evictions threaten to displace low-income families and rallied for a citywide policy that would offer basic protections to tenants.

Several city councilors in attendance pledged to back a Just Cause Eviction policy in Boston. Councilors Frank Baker, Michael Flaherty, Tito Jackson, Stephen Murphy, Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu and Charles Yancey gave their support, along with city council candidates Andrea Campbell, Charles Clemons and Annissa Essaibi-George.

Thank you to everyone who came out to march with us, share your story and build power for our right to remain! We hope to see you at our Annual Meeting to keep this work going.

Enroll in the Youth Pass pilot today

Sign up for a Youth Pass today! October 20, 2015

Are you a young person looking for more affordable transit options - or know someone who is? There's still time to sign up for a Youth Pass!

With the school year underway (and Student Pass program back up), space in our Youth Pass pilot has become available. This means more openings for youth who don't receive passes from school and still need a way to get to work, class, extracurricular activities and doctor's appointments.

The Youth Pass is a result of eight years of sustained, youth-led organizing, and is open to 1,500 riders ages 12 to 21 in Boston, Chelsea, Malden and Somerville.

Enrollment is rolling and participants may choose between weekly ($7) or monthly ($26) passes.

The pilot program also demonstrates the need for affordable transportation, and provides data on youth ridership that will be important when MBTA and MassDOT officials consider whether to implement a permanent Youth Pass.

The program began on July 1, 2015, and will run until June 30, 2016. Find out if you're eligible to participate and sign up today - if you are eligible and have previously signed up, please register again to ensure a spot on the list.

In our community

October 20, 2015

Congratulations, Haley House! Art in Dudley Square

Earlier this month, REEP Youth Organizers and members visited "The Faces of Dudley" exhibit at the Dudley Square Library, part of artist JR's worldwide Inside Out Project.

The portraits provide an opportunity to reflect on the #Right2Remain in Roxbury. Will the forces of gentrification and displacement change the face of our community?

Calling all members!

Renew your membership this fall with a donation of $5 or more. Not a member yet? Sign up today!

Member Profile: Sue Harden, ACE member

October 20, 2015

Sue is an ACE member and active member of our Massachusetts EJ Alliance.

My husband and I lived aboard our boat in East Boston in the harbor and we got on the subway one day with somebody that had some sort of sticker on. I’d been looking to make connections because I’d been in environmental justice and social justice work my entire life. I met this gal with the sticker and went to a meeting with ACE lawyers Staci Rubin and Gene Benson. We sat around this paper-covered table and I thought, this is really interesting. The people were committed and very, very productive.

The need for an Executive Order on Environmental Justice became evident when I started working with community groups in Chelsea and East Boston. Before, I was an environmental activist and a social activist but I never really saw the intersection of the two.

What I learned through ACE is that they are at a very important intersection. These pieces all fit together. Sometimes I’m talking strictly about environmental justice, or sometimes I’m saying let’s plant more perennials so we can get the carbon back in the soil. It’s all integrated-it’s all pieces of the same puzzle.

In Chelsea and East Boston we were working on the ethanol campaign. It’s just such a pleasure to spend time together and to know you can get the job done and get support from one another. Without camaraderie, it’s pretty hard to do something like this.

The campaign for the EJ EO was as statewide as possible. We started collecting these postcards saying that environmental justice was important. I said that we needed to demonstrate that these came from the state of Massachusetts and not just from ACE and its friends. We wanted to be very sure that we had postcards from everywhere, including Deval Patrick’s hometown. We had them from Fitchburg to Holyoke, from the Berkshires to Boston, from Cape Cod. We covered the state.

I colored in each part of the map that we had postcards from. The map showed that it really was from those individual places, and the number of postcards spoke for itself. We walked in with the map and with the postcards and it was pretty dramatic.

After finally getting it passed and thinking Wahoo, We’re done, we weren’t done. We had to keep the pressure on. Now we’re having listening sessions with all the state agencies on how they will implement the Executive Order.

When we had the Executive Order signed, that was just such a moment. Being in the presence of the group of people-professors from Northeastern, lawyers who are donating their time, and all the other folks-that’s the payoff.

People wonder why would you do something like this, but the payoff is in your heart and in the sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself, making a difference, being able to use that difference and go forward with it. It’s been just a terrific ride.

Updates and appreciations

September 24, 2015

New faces this fall
We're excited to be working with some new folks this year: Nina, a Youth Organizer elected by REEP in August and Giselle, a Life Together Fellow working on membership and organizing. We also have two law student interns: Leslie, who will be working with returning intern Evan on environmental justice policy and legislation, regulatory reform, and affordable housing issues. We look forward to sharing their work with you.

Congratulations, Haley House! A decade of delectable excellence
Congratulations to Haley House Bakery Café on their 10-year anniversary in Dudley Square! We remember when the café was just an idea, and your organizers talked to people and organizations in the area to see if there was a need for a space to gather and break bread. (We said yes!)

Now, after a decade of providing job and skills training to community members, Haley House is expanding and opening a new worker co-op, Dudley Dough, on October 5. Much love to our friends at Haley House for their dedication to delicious food and community, commitment to social and economic justice, and many years of partnership and solidarity.

Have you renewed?
It's that time of the year - renew your membership with ACE with a donation of $5 or more. Not a member yet? Sign up today!

Congrats newly elected Youth Organizers! Looking to get involved?
Join us at our volunteer nights this fall, which happen every other Wednesday. The next volunteer night is on Wednesday, September 30, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. when we'll be calling to invite members to our Annual Meeting.

Also, help build support for transit justice: Our T Riders Union is looking for volunteers to collect signatures for our transit justice platform. Contact us to learn more.

Don't miss out
We're looking forward to seeing you on Thursday, October 29, for our Annual Meeting. Join us for dinner, elect new Board members and learn about our plan and goals for the next year.

Thursday, October 29, 2015
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
First Church of Roxbury (White Church)
10 Putnam Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Note: To be eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting, members must have volunteered for at least 15 hours this year. This includes time spent attending actions and events like monthly member meetings, youth pass marches and Jammin' for Justice.

We're hiring!

September 24, 2015

We're hiring! Join us in working for environmental justice!

We are accepting applications for a full-time Development Director.

The Development Director will manage all aspects of ACE's fundraising efforts, including membership, annual giving, major gifts, special projects and events, planned giving, government and foundation grants.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Women and people of color strongly encouraged to apply.

View the full job description on our website and apply by sending a resume and cover letter to

Climate quilt shows community solutions

September 24, 2015

Youth Organizer Asia with our quilt patch Last month, we participated in a climate justice quilt project organized by the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), of which ACE is a member. As part of CJA's Our Power campaign, allied organizations across the country designed a patch to reflect community solutions to the devastating impacts of climate change.

Our quilt square is inspired by the message that it takes roots to weather the storm. The tree anchors the image as well as our work - in our strategy sessions, members map campaigns on drawings of trees, listing root issues, possible solutions and the effects of change.

The tree's branches represent our three programs, and the leaves, our campaigns that grow a movement of people for environmental and social justice. Together, we are breaking through entrenched and concrete systems to build a greener, more sustainable future. Our work together is rooted in love and community - based in Dudley Square, we're also in the heart of Boston's black community, and the geographic center of the city.

The completed quilt arrived in New Orleans on August 29 to mark the 10-year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina. As we remembered this tragedy, the quilt symbolized the ongoing work to build resilient communities in the face of the devastating impacts of climate change.

About Our Power: Comprised of community groups across the U.S., the Our Power campaign works to end the era of extreme energy, create millions of green jobs and implement a just transition to local, sustainable economies. We envision communities with quality public transportation, affordable and durable housing, clean energy, regional food systems, healthy ecosystems, and zero waste.

Improving MBTA service

September 24, 2015

Discussing how to improve MBTA service In August, our T Riders Union (TRU) and Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition (YAC) met with MBTA officials to discuss improvements as the agency looks to update its Service Planning Policy. The policy guides the rules and priorities for the T's decision-making when it comes to service and we wanted to make sure the new version includes concerns from transit-dependent riders.

Members shared experiences as MBTA riders, including our most difficult trips and how they could be improved. We discussed what it means to make public transportation accessible for everyone and ways to establish more reliable, on-time and frequent service.

Thank you members for coming and sharing your stories and ideas! Stay tuned for a draft version of the new policy later this year and more opportunities to provide input.

Strengthening EJ policy in Massachusetts

September 24, 2015

In August, ACE members and supporters gathered to provide input to Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) on their draft Environmental Justice Policy. We raised significant concerns with the draft and shared ideas to strengthen it in the next round of revisions.

Sharing comments with the EEA Developing an EJ policy is one of the requirements of the Executive Order on Environmental Justice - a landmark order we secured last November - to protect the health, safety and environment of the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. The EEA is the first state agency to draft an EJ policy and we look forward to working with MassDOT, Housing and Economic Development, and others to create inclusive and effective policies.

The EEA will accept comments at a final listening session in Brockton. Comments may also be submitted by mail or online by October 9.

Thank you to everyone who came to share your ideas! We were thrilled to see long-time members and new supporters working together to shape the direction of EJ policy in Massachusetts. Stay tuned for future opportunities to get involved.