Introducing Greater Four Corners Action Coalition

Introducing Greater Four Corners Action Coalition: Fighting to Empower the Residents of Dorchester and Mattapan

By Bob Hatchey

For 28 years, the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, (GFCAC), has been advocating to improve the quality of life and empower the residents of two of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the recent economic boom that has helped Boston to become one of America’s fastest-growing cities has left neighborhoods such as Dorchester and Mattapan behind. Organizations like GFCAC work very hard to see that residents of these neighborhoods get a fairer shake.

GFCAC began in 1991 when a group of residents, Clergy and law enforcement officials got together to strategize on ways to improve the lives of its residents. They were originally known as the Four Corners Public Safety project. In the early days, they created neighborhood watch groups and worked to reduce crime and get neighborhood youth involved in sports and other worthwhile activities. They worked to steer youth away from crime and toward improvement and increased community involvement. Four Corners refers to a intersection where Bowdoin and Washington Street meet.

Today, GFCAC concentrates on Transportation justice, equity, neighborhood stabilization and public safety. GFCAC organizes events for youth and conducts training for residents. One of the trainings focuses on mortgage foreclosure prevention. Residents are taught their rights as homeowners and how to effectively negotiate with banks.

Mela Miles is the lead community organizer for GFCAC. She is most interested in transportation justice. “In the early 1980’s, they moved the Orange line out of our neighborhood and replaced it with buses which lowered the quality of life here”, she says. “We had to fight hard attending many public meetings, and the MBTA finally offered us the Silver Line”. She called it the “Silver Lie” because it did not offer nearly the same kind of transit into down town as the Orange line once did. The portion of the Silver Line that traverses this neighborhood is above ground bus or “bus rapid transit and must contend with very heavy traffic. The only rapid part is the tunnel that goes out to Logan Airport.

Earlier this year, Mela Miles and the GFCAC convinced State representative Daniel Cullinane to file H2985, An Act establishing rapid transportation for the Fairmount Corridor. This bill, if passed into law, would make major improvements to the MBTA’s commuter rail Fairmount line. This line traverses 9.2 miles through the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park. This corridor is very poorly served by the MBTA especially when compared with many other neighborhoods currently served by rapid transit. H2985 would make this above ground line run much more like the rapid transit lines and it would be known as the Indigo Line. Trains would run on this line every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes during the rest of the day. This would give these neighborhoods something very close to the service that neighborhoods currently served by rapid transit take for granted.

State Senator Nick Collins has also filed an accompanying Senate bill and its number is S2046.

Very recently the advocacy of Mela Miles, GFCAC and others paid off in a big way with the opening of the Blue Hill Station on the Fairmount line. This station has already cut the commute time from Mattapan into downtown Boston from around 1 hour to a much more manageable 20 minutes. Residents of Mattapan now hope that it will be a destination, not just a place from which to commute. Apparently, service has been improving on the Fairmount line with fewer missed and diverted trains.

Aa you can see, GFCAC has cemented itself as a valuable resource to the residents of Dorchester and Mattapan. The future of GFCAC looks bright.

Immigrants bear the brunt of a changing public policy

Concerns for “Public Charge”

by Ben Enchevarria, The Welcome Project

“[T]here is a lot of talk about the Act being discriminatory. I do not know what is discriminatory about it…and I do not know what is wrong being discriminatory…The proposed changes…will discriminate against gangsters, idiots, prostitutes, and some other undesirables.” -Sam Baccala, Americanism Chairman of the Baltimore District American 1965 during testimony to the Senate judiciary subcommittee on immigration. (Gabriel J. Chin, 2015)

Although the quote was made over 52 years ago many of the sentiments made continue to be stated currently about immigrants; simply exchange Gangsters, prostitutes, and idiots for murders, drug dealers, and rapist. Immigration today is no better than it was throughout our history. Immigration laws have been used to remove or restrict various races, nationalities, and ethnicities throughout our history.

The first immigration act was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The act placed a 10-year moratorium on Chinese immigration and banned naturalization for Chinese people. This act was formed after blaming the Chinese, who comprised .002% of the American population, for declining wages and economic ills. In 1902, this act was passed but made the ban permanent. Today we blame Mexicans instead of the Chinese for our economic ills.

Today we began to see how this current administration wants to limit immigration and who can become a citizen by changing what type of services can limit a person from becoming a citizen. Known as the “Public Charge” the Trump administration wants to expand services that green card holders can be denied citizenship in the past cash benefits but now the proposed changes would deny SNAP, Federally subsidized housing, and Medicare health insurance. Such changes would apply to anyone on a green card or visa.

Of course, these changes are targeted to hurt many poor immigrants who have come to this country to try to make a better life for their families and themselves. These changes defy who we are as a nation. The “New Colossus” the poem on the Statue of Liberty reminds us “give us your poor” as a nation we need to do better, we need to be better. We need to help everyone find freedom.

WATCH Celebrates 30th Anniversary

By Bob Hachey

Africa Gente Band

This band is Africa Gente

On Friday, May 13,  2018, the Waltham Alliance for Teaching, Community Organizing and Housing, (WATCH), celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham. For its first 20 years, WATCH advocated for and developed affordable housing in Waltham. The lack of affordable housing means that many people who work in cities like Waltham cannot afford to live there. Fifteen years ago, WATCH merged with Breaking Barriers, which offered English as a second Language, (ESL) classes to Waltham’s immigrant population. This was a good fit as both organizations were in the business of empowering disenfranchised populations.

In 2015, the board of WATCH made a bold decision to undertake a substantial expansion. WATCH doubled the size of its office space and added more ESL classrooms. This was a considerable leap of faith at the time as we were not sure where all of the funding to make this happen would come from. AS we voted to take this leap, many of us worried that it might be a leap too far.

Photo Evan Diamond, Marissa and Marci Diamond (no relation)

Left to Right – Evan Diamond, Marissa and Marci Diamond (no relation)

However, due to the hard work of our development director, the generosity of our donors and a bit of luck, all went well. Before the expansion, we had a waiting list of over 300 persons for our ESL classes. Daria Gere, WATCH’s executive director has been working for WATCH for around 14 years is very proud of the progress WATCH has made under her stewardship:  “Our biggest accomplishment has been ending our waiting list for ESL classes. By going to a volunteer taught model, we’ve been able to move to rolling enrollment for nearly all our classes. A student can come in on a Monday, get screened on Tuesday, and start classes on Wednesday. It’s so exciting to be able to meet that community need!”

In addition, WATCH has been able to hire more staff, which has allowed for the creation of new programs.   ”We are growing in a sustainable way to meet the needs of our low income and immigrant communities. We’ve been able to connect with free immigration and job support services as well as add a citizenship class.  Our growth has been supported by the community from all sectors- churches, individual donors, businesses, banks, foundations. This growing support lets us know we are on the right track”, explained Daria.

Photo of people attending the party

WATCH Executive Director Daria Gere, Housing Clinic Coordinator Suzi Solomon thank BC Legal Assistance Clinic Professors Alan Minuskin and Paul Tremblay for their support of Waltham tenants.

On empowering disenfranchised communities, Daria had this to say:  “We hear from the community every day through phone calls and walk-ins and we respond to what the community needs.   With our walk-in housing clinic we can let people know about their rights as tenants and give them the tools to advocate for themselves.”

WATCH has continued offering first time homebuyer classes as well as assisting low-income homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. IF that weren’t enough, WATCH is also encouraging increased voter registration. While there is still a lot of work to do, the future of WATCH is looking very good.

Here is how Daria describes WATCH’s goals moving forward: “We are finishing our 5 year plan and thinking about new goals.  One big goal is to try and figure out a way to combat gentrification and grow our stock of safe and affordable housing. That’s such an important part of our work and we will be engaging the community to come up with creative and viable solutions to this urgent problem.”

To learn more about WATCH, go to

WATCH is member of Community Works.

What Social Justice Means to Us

What Social Justice Means to Us. 

Community Works had table at 11th Annual Boston GreenFest this past August and we gathered thoughts from the public about what social justice means to them.  We understand the process of social justice to be dialog and a collaboration.

This is what we heard:

No one left behind

When all Peoples of the Earth get along as one human community

Standing up to Tyranny & All Rights , Humans, Animals, Society for All Beings

Everybody can gets to stay where they are renting and they can’t be kicked out by developers turning it into a condo

Same Opportunities for All

Freedom & Equity

Free Lula – Lula Livre

Climate Justice for ALL

SJ (social justice) is a 24/7 thing

That all people of color are treated equally

Opportunities to become citizens and to vote if you work for wages in USA.

Stop separating Families from Asylum people and citizens and young girls, homeless with babies & nationalism, civic duties for All


Everyone having equal opportunities

Treating all people like humans

Human Kindness

No Big Brother watching

Giving a Damn!

Equal Rights

Equal fights for all People born and unborn…

Equitable access to affordable, clean, healthy housing

Equal opportunity & equal consequences

Justice for ALL VOTE

Vote out the Republicans!!

Dump Trump

Promoting equality to all different types of people.


HYCC Honors Sam Sadd

By Eva Kubrick
On June 10, Hawthorne Youth and Community Center honored Samantha “Sam” Sadd by dedicating their community garden to her
One bright sunny Sunday, June 10th , the Hawthorne Youth and Community Center celebrated “Legacy Day” honoring its 1973 incorporation – 45 years ago – and dedicating a peace garden on its property to the memory of its longtime Director, the late, great Samantha Sadd.  “Sam” had brought many innovative, culturally-rich programs to the center. By collaborating with the city, other agencies, museums, universities, etc., she was able to bring some of the best resources of Boston to her community.
One of these resources is Community Works, which has supported HYCC for over thirty years, thus assuring a stable, non-restrictive income source for HYCC’s development.
As a Board representative to Community Works, Sam served on the Publicity (now “Branding”) and Membership committees and was elected to the Steering Committee.
Armed with a mischievous sense of humor and a keen intellect (often hidden under her ever-present hat), Sam spoke seldom but listened carefully.  Her most important quality was a true strength of character, with sound moral understanding and much common sense. These characteristics would become evident to all during discussion of complex issues, where competing interests and differing opinions obscured the way forward. Her words helped clarify what was “the right thing to do.”  Sam’s speaking her mind forthrightly helped others to do the same. She thus helped create consensus, enabled harmony and showed the way to proceed.
At the Legacy Day celebration those who attended were struck by the many comments from children of their affection for Sam, remarking what a difference she had made in their lives.  They recalled creating an HYCC float every year for the First Night parade, learning to write poetry at the Dudley Square branch of the Boston Public Library, and, when they were young children, reading new books with students Sam had recruited from Boston College.
Those of us who were fortunate to have known Sam well can say that she herself held Community Works in great affection.  She had worked hard over the years for its continuing success. Sam valued immensely the benefits HYCC received from Community Works.
Today, with a new “green” building, a peace garden in progress, and new educational programs, HYCC is a solid resource for its community.   The development of HYCC into this forward-looking organization demonstrates well how a strong Community Works organization enables local social justice groups to create programs that meet the needs of their own communities.

Remembering Martin

…“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” MLK…(April 4, 1968)
If Dr. King’s dream is to be realized, we all  must keep on working with increased urgency and dedication…in everyting we do.  We must make NOW the time to realize the dream that was his. We must end the movement to repress democratic values of fairness, and justice for all… where every person is entitled to a safe home, basic health care, a good education and the right to vote  and speak out freely in this Democracy.  
We must work for safe working environments, fair and just pay for work done and a safe and healthy environment on this Earth. We must work to  end the mass incarceration that destroys families and commmunities. We must protect The Dreamers as we are a country of immigrants  who have made us the strong fabric that is the United States. We must and we will work for justice, opportunity and equality for All Of  US

Jane Doe Inc. Statement Regarding the American Health Care Act: A matter of justice

We have watched with horror and concern as the President of the United States and the U.S. House of Representatives have taken steps to strip millions of people of their access to both preventative health care and medical treatment.  They have disregarded the physical and mental health of those who would otherwise go uninsured, impinged on the rights of women, people with HIV, and LGBQ\T communities, and threatened to put access to even basic health services out of reach for many survivors of sexual and domestic violence.  Make no mistake:  this is not just a health care issue, this is a civil rights and social justice issue.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill that if codified into law, would strike a massive blow to the U.S. health care system and cause irreparable harm to countless survivors of gender-based violence across the country and here in the Commonwealth. Survivors of sexual and domestic violence are at high risk for long-term health consequences such as anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, reproductive issues, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Survivors already face tremendous barriers to receiving services for myriad reasons, including stigma and lack of resources. The AHCA would make seeking medical help even more unrealistic for many survivors, as they could be denied coverage for seeking services in the aftermath of violence, lose coverage for essential health services, or lose their health care if Medicaid is drastically changed. As the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, JDI strongly condemns the passage of the AHCA and calls on all Massachusetts elected officials and community members to oppose this dangerous bill.  Specifically, by attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that prevents insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums for individuals with “pre-existing conditions,” survivors sexual or domestic violence could be denied coverage or charged more for necessary health care that they seek for issues resulting from past violence. The AHCA would also allow states to opt out of ACA provisions that require insurers to cover a minimum set of essential health benefits, including coverage for necessary services like mental health support and maternity care.   Survivors deserve access to the full range of high quality physical and mental health care, not higher premiums or refusal of coverage.  Of equal concern, the AHCA will deepen existing inequities in the U.S. health care system, leaving low-income, immigrant, LGBQ\T, disabled, and other underserved survivors without necessary health coverage. Ending Medicaid as an open-ended entitlement system would effectively strip $880 billion from the program over the next 10 years, making health care inaccessible for low-income and disabled survivors. It would freeze funds to entities issuing safe and much needed abortion services, including Planned Parenthood, with 80% of their clients at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.  Currently, people of color account for more than half of those who are unable to access any affordable health coverage. LGBQ\T sensitive health care and research are still largely unavailable and underfunded, and the legacy of the HIV/AIDS crisis and stigma surrounding the gay community keeps HIV prep costs high, and screening/treatment difficult to access. And even with Medicaid expansions that have brought uninsured rates to historic lows in the U.S., 28.5 million individuals remained uninsured in 2015, with 46% of uninsured adults reporting that they tried to get coverage, but didn’t because the options were too expensive. The AHCA will deepen these inequities, disproportionately harming underserved communities, and dramatically worsening the health care crisis in the U.S.  What we need and what we demand for survivors of all backgrounds is a health care system that centers people not profit, prevention not last minute intervention. We cannot accept a policy that will strip millions of individuals of their coverage, disproportionately harming survivors and historically underserved communities. We need a system that provides culturally specific, accommodating, and affordable services to all individuals-because health care is a human right.  We applaud all of the U.S. Democrat and 20 Republican Representatives who voted no on the AHCA, including the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation. As the issue is considered in the Senate, we will work alongside Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren to improve rather than to dismantle our nation’s health care system.  To advocates, organizers, teachers, students, workers, and community members everywhere: let us unite in rejecting the AHCA and demand a system that protects survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and people of all backgrounds in the U.S.  Together we must fight not only against the AHCA, but continue to fight for a health care system that works for and meets the needs of all people fairly and equitably.  Thank you to our Northeastern University Cooperative Students, Rebecca Green and Ash Liu, for their help in researching and drafting this statement.  Your partnership ensures that Jane Doe Inc. can provide effective, strategic and valuable leadership statewide.  You’re invited to: JOIN US at upcoming events. ADD YOUR VOICE to our advocacy efforts.

April 29 Climate support Rally in Boston

Boston People’s Climate Mobilization

Start: April 29, 201712:00 PM
End: April 29, 2017 3:30 PM
Boston Common 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133
Host Contact Info:

On April 29, the People’s Climate March will bring together hundreds of thousands of people from across the country to demand jobs, justice and real climate solutions. Here in Boston, we’ll have a full day of workshops and activities to build and grow our movement, starting with an energizing rally at 12:00 pm on Boston Common. Join us! (Facebook page)


  • Rally for jobs, justice and bold action on climate on Boston Common


  • Action tables, activities, and art-making on Boston Common
  • Teach-ins on the connections between the climate fight and other struggles for justice–including racial justice, immigrant justice, worker justice, and more–at SEIU 32BJ (26 West St, Boston, next to the Common)

Other Marches to Support
On May 1, just two days later, immigrants, workers and supporters across the country, including in Boston, will be marching and striking for dignity and respect. Instead of hosting a separate march on April 29, we’ll be asking the Boston climate movement to show up in force and take to the streets on May 1. Join us as we mobilize alongside our brothers and sisters in the immigrants’ rights and labor movements. More details soon!

And for more on the connection between this event and the March for Science on April 22, see here.


Who is organizing this?
A local coalition of labor unions, environmental justice groups, faith organizations, youth groups, and climate activism groups has been meeting over the last several months to both a) send hundreds of people from the Boston area to the People’s Climate March in Washington, DC (buy your ticket here and/or donate to help others go!) and b) plan a local PCM action here in Boston. We’re joining forces because we think this could be a transformative moment for the Massachusetts climate movement. We share a powerful vision: together, we want to build a forceful, justice-centered movement that lifts up the voices and leadership of those most affected by climate change. Our work together is grounded in the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing.

Boston PCM Organizing Table

Alternatives for Community & Environment
Chelsea GreenRoots
Alliance for Climate Education
Youth on Board / Boston Student Advisory Council
1199 SEIU
509 SEIU
Boston Teachers Union
Jobs with Justice
MA Nurses Association
Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action
MA Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action
Moral Revival Boston
350 Mass for a Better Future
Boston Climate Action Network
Boston EcoWomen
Corporate Accountability International
MA Climate Action Network
Mass Energy Consumers Alliance
Mothers Out Front
Sierra Club Massachusetts
Toxics Action Center


Jane Doe Inc.’s Prevention Summit 2017

Transforming Communities

1 day of 2-way inspiration and education.

Counting down 23 DAYS


Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about innovative community-based prevention programming specific to sexual and domestic violence that are underway at the local, state and national levels as well as engage and network with prevention colleagues from across the state.
WHEN: Thursday, April 27 9:00AM – 4:00PM
WHERE: DCU, 50 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608


*Special appearance* 


Lieutenant Governor, Karyn Polito
Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.


KEYNOTE: Nubia Peña

In this talk, Nubia Peña of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Violence outlines how prevention practitioners can become involved beyond the classroom by advocating and advancing policy reforms in schools.

In Our Own Voices says “NO MORE Excuses”

NO MORE: A Community Response to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People of Color Violence.

 Performance by Flatline 

Flatline Poetry is a collective of artists who perform, teach, and host open mics throughout the United States. Combining their skills in spoken word, community organizing, visual art, and music, the members of Flatline create an interactive experience that confronts topics of sexual and gender identity, love and loss, race and heritage, and the intersections between them.



Registration for JDI members and RPE funded programs.

General Registration will open after March 13th. 

  • $40 per person for staff at JDI member programs
  • $55 per person for staff at allied organizations

·         $10 per student

  • Each person must register individually. There is no group registration or group discounts.

A few important notes about registration:

  1. Space is limited. Registration is REQUIRED. If necessary, JDI may create a waiting list.
  2. No refunds will be issued.
  3. If you are unable to attend, please notify JDI at at least 48 hours in advance of the program date.


Food will be served.  If you have any dietary restrictions, please contact Jane Doe Inc. at ph: 617-557-1806, fax: 617-248-0902, email:, by April 6, 2017.  In your message, please provide your contact information and accommodation request.

This workshop has been developed for JDI member programs, DPH funded rape crisis centers and JDI invited guests.



Questions? Please contact JDI at 617-557-1821 or

Funding for this event was made possible in part by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Copyright © 2016 Jane Doe Inc..
All rights reserved.
Contact email:


Across the Commonwealth, educators seek to establish positive learning environments where all young people can be successful. Encouraging positive behavior is critical to creating the classrooms that our kids need to reach their full potential. Excluding students from the classroom through suspensions and expulsions interrupts their learning time and often creates negative cycles that can harm students and the learning climate.
MassBudget’s new report, “Learning Uninterrupted: Supporting Positive Culture and Behavior in Schools,” examines new approaches to school discipline that have been effective in fostering a positive school climate and reducing student suspensions while contributing to academic achievement. One approach emphasizes preventative measures promoting positive school culture, reinforcing expectations with incentives and logical consequences, and providing additional support for the kids most in need. Another approach, “Restorative Justice” brings together young people who have broken rules with other affected parties to discuss the impact of the bad behavior, determine corrective action, and empower those harmed.
As Massachusetts schools move beyond strict “zero tolerance” discipline policies, the report examines how school districts could implement these types of effective reforms and what the costs might be.
The stakes are high for reducing school suspensions and expulsions. Recent research has found a 12 percentage point decline in the probability of graduating high school for suspended students after controlling for other background factors. Students excluded from class time often become more disengaged and alienated. Research links dropping out of school to lower lifetime earnings and increased social costs.
In Massachusetts, the passage of Chapter 222 aims to reduce the prevalence of exclusionary discipline by directing schools to limit suspensions to severe issues, increase due process, and to work with the families and provide services for kids facing discipline. These reforms have helped to reduce exclusionary discipline by 17.7 percent over two years. MassBudget’s new study identifies ways that our schools could build on this progress by adopting innovative policies that have a strong record of success in other states: proactive strategies to create a positive school climate so that the behaviors that lead to exclusionary discipline are less likely to occur and Restorative Justice programs that rebuild positive relationships when incidents occur.
Studies show schools are more likely to suspend black and Latino students, as well as students with disabilities, even for similar kinds of behavior. Massachusetts’ Chapter 222 requires schools to monitor and report data on these disparities.
To see data on student suspensions for each school district for minor and major offenses going back to 2012, click here.
To read the full report, “Learning Uninterrupted: Supporting Positive Culture and Behavior in Schools,” click here.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state’s economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.
BOSTON, MA 02108
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