Youth Program Wins the 2016 NAHYP Award!

November 17th, 2016 by

You could feel the burst of joy, appreciation, and excitement spread throughout the room when First Lady Michelle Obama presented us with one of the 2016 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program (NAHYP) Awards. Many gathered for our live viewing party to celebrate all of the hard work of our staff, students, and community that has made our Youth Development Program (YDP) such a success.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Award recognizes 12 outstanding programs from across the country. It is the Nation’s highest honor “for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.” As an awardee, we will receive a $10,000 grant as well as “a full year of capacity-building and communications support;” allowing us to further strengthen our mission – to empower and engage individuals and families to improve their lives through high-quality affordable housing, education, and arts programs – by continuing to provide a unique opportunity that prepares young people for their futures.

Our YDP students come to us from communities all over Boston, including the South End, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan with the drive to develop their leadership abilities, confidence, positive relationships, and job skills. We provide these youth participants with a platform to grow by opening high-quality arts & humanities learning experiences to them.

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November 17th, 2016 by



BOSTON – Following reports of harassment and intimidation of racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants since Election Day, Attorney General Maura Healey today announced that her office has established a new hotline for Massachusetts residents to report such incidents.

“In Massachusetts, we will protect people’s rights, fight discrimination and keep people safe,” said AG Healey. “There are reports from around the country following the election that people have been targeted and subjected to conduct that imperils safety and civil rights. Today, I am establishing a hotline for residents to report bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence. Such conduct has no place in Massachusetts.”

The hotline will be managed by attorneys and staff in the AG’s Office. While not every incident will be appropriate for legal action, the AG’s Office will be tracking reports and appropriate matters may be referred to local law enforcement or the Attorney General’s Criminal Bureau.

Any Massachusetts resident who has witnessed or experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence may call the Attorney General’s Hotline at 1-800-994-3228 or fill out a civil rights complaint form at this link. Residents may also contact the AG’s Office through its social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

Potential hate crimes – including bias-motivated assault, battery, and property damage – should also be reported to the local police in the first instance. Residents who fear for their immediate safety should call 911. 

Most hate crimes are prosecuted by the local District Attorney’s Office. However, in some cases, the offender may also be prosecuted civilly, either in addition to criminal charges or instead of criminal charges, by the AG’s Office under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA).

The MCRA protects the rights of all residents and visitors to Massachusetts to be free from bias-motivated threats, intimidation, and coercion. The MCRA protects the right to use public parks and transportation, walk on public streets, attend school, live peacefully, and enjoy other basic rights. Under the MCRA, the Attorney General may bring legal action against a perpetrator who threatens, intimidates, or coerces another person on the basis of that person’s membership in a protected group (e.g., race, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability) or protected activity (e.g., exercising the right to vote or the right to associate).

Whether it’s potential hate crimes, housing discrimination, or wage theft, the AG’s Office encourages immigrant communities to come forward with their concerns without fear of reprisal based on immigration status.

For more information, visit the Attorney General’s Office website.

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Structural racism is a pollutant that threatens the community development ecosystem.

November 14th, 2016 by Joe Kriesberg

“Too many Community Development Corporations have abandoned their roots and don’t empower local residents,” said one Community Development Corporation (CDC) leader, noting that the professionals on staff were driving the agenda, not residents. “That’s unfair” said another, who added, “we have to attract investments from banks and work with City Hall to get things done.” This was the summer of 1993, at my very first MACDC board meeting. This particular debate–and various versions of it–has animated community development for the past 25 years. As our movement’s founding father, Mel King, often asks: “in whose interest” are we working? Having just graduated from law school and starting a career in community development, I wondered what precisely I had walked into.

The debate manifests itself around three related but distinct tensions faced by CDCs across the country:

  • Should we focus our efforts on places or on people?
  • Should we adopt a comprehensive approach or specialize in a single area to achieve greater scale and impact?
  • How do we balance power between professional community developers and resident leaders?

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CPA passes in Boston and many other cities in Massachusetts

November 9th, 2016 by Joe Kriesberg

By a resounding margin of 73.6% to 26.4%, Boston voters approved the Community Preservation Act to enable the City to raise $20 million dollars annually for affordable housing, parks and open space and historic preservation.  MACDC and its members played an active role in every aspect of the campaign along with over 200 community oganizations, representing housing, parks, historic preservation, arts & culture, health, faith institutions, labor and business. The proposal – Question 5 on the ballot – was also strongly support by Mayor Marty Walsh and nearly all of our city’s couniclors and state legislators.

The CPA was first established by the state legislature in 2000 as a way for cities and towns to address the needs for more housing, parks and historic preservation.  Since that time, 161 cities and towns have voted to adopt CPA for their communities. Yesterday, Boston was joined by Chelsea, Springfield, Holyoke and Pittsfield in adopting CPA creating new opportunities to improve neighborhoods across the state.

For more information on the Boston CPA campaign, go to Yes for a Better Boston’s website.

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