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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Demands President Biden and Congress Create Permanent Protections for DACA Recipients

 Asian Americans Advancing Justice Demands President Biden and Congress Create Permanent Protections for DACA Recipients  

 

Court Ruling On DACA Emphasizes Need For Permanent Solution

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In yesterday’s Fifth Circuit decision, a federal appeals court affirmed a lower court decision that held that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. The appeals court also held that the program can continue for current DACA holders while a lower court decides on the legality of the recent Department of Homeland Security final rule. Current DACA recipients are still protected and can still lawfully work while the court case continues.

 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations, releases the following statement:

 

“Enough is enough. We demand an end to political theater: Congress and President Biden must put words into action and create a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented communities.

 

“This decision clearly illustrates the need for a permanent solution. In the last few years, DACA recipients have been subject to continuous uncertainty, with varied policy changes and multiple court decisions constantly threatening the program. During that time, we have heard the same tired statements from our lawmakers about a ‘broken’ system and the need to protect DACA recipients and reform our immigration system. And yet, over a decade after the creation of the program, DACA recipients remain unsure of their future and the future of their families.

 

“The Fifth Circuit’s decision keeps hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients in limbo, including over 14,000 Asian American and 150 Pacific Islander active DACA recipients. If DACA is ultimately ended, it will have catastrophic effects on the over 600,000 individuals with DACA, millions of their loved ones, and the entire country.”

麻州州長宣佈十月為蔓越橘

 Baker-Polito Administration Declares October “Massachusetts Cranberry Month”

State Officials Tour Cranberry Company, Encourage Residents to Buy Local Cranberry Products

 


Today MDAR officials joined with cranberry industry representatives at Federal Furnace Cranberry Company in the Town of Carver in honor of October being declared “Massachusetts Cranberry Month.” From left to right: MDAR Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle, Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association Vice President John Mason, Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association Executive Director Brian Wick, MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux, Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association President Steve Ward, and Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association Bog Tour and Event Manager Kim Miot.

 

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today declared October as “Massachusetts Cranberry Month” for the third consecutive year. In celebration of this declaration, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux, state and local officials, and representatives from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association visited Federal Furnace Cranberry Company in the Town of Carver to encourage residents to purchase locally-produced cranberry products. Today’s visit to Federal Furnace included a proclamation declaring October “Massachusetts Cranberry Month”, and a tour of their bog to witness the harvesting taking place.

 

“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to support cranberry growers, who make significant contributions to the Commonwealth’s agricultural sector and local economies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Our local growers are true stewards of the land, implementing the latest in proprietary technology and equipment to harvest their fruit, and utilizing innovative methods that conserve water and protect Massachusetts’ natural resources.”

 

Massachusetts is the oldest cranberry-growing region in the country. Today, there are approximately 13,000 acres of commercial bogs in the state, primarily in Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable counties. In 2021, the total value of utilized Massachusetts cranberry production was over $60 million. Cranberries are a leading commercial crop grown in the Commonwealth, producing nearly 25% of the nation’s cranberry supply.

 

“As a side dish at Thanksgiving dinner, served dried on oatmeal or salads, or enjoyed in a glass in juice form, cranberries are a mighty multi-purpose fruit with enormous health benefits,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Autumn in Massachusetts is a special time for many reasons, but chief among them is the breathtaking scenery and imagery that takes shape across “Cranberry Country” in Southeastern Massachusetts when the harvest season is in full swing and bogs are awash in crimson. It’s absolutely fitting that we celebrate this superfruit in October.”

 

Massachusetts’ cranberry industry, through crop production, processing, and manufacturing, is an essential sector of the state’s agriculture economy. Additionally, increasing the efficiency of water use in cranberry production is key to conserving water while minimizing off-target movement of nutrients and pesticides, which will help to preserve water quality and ensuring the sustainability of cranberry production in the Commonwealth.

 

“The hard-working cranberry growers of Massachusetts are honored that the Baker-Polito Administration is once again recognizing October as cranberry month in the Commonwealth,” said Brian Wick, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, serving growers from all of Massachusetts. “Despite the significant drought that impacted many of our cranberry farms this growing season, with some recent rain events, along with resourceful and innovative growers, we are excited for an expected good cranberry crop this year.”  

 

In August 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $7.75 million in funding to support infrastructure upgrades, including the design, construction, retrofitting, and outfitting of enhanced laboratory space at the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station in Wareham. The funding will be used to modernize and expand its research facilities, improve the facility’s environmental profile, and provide the research tools needed to support vigorous research programs in cranberry water, pest, and nutrient management. Working closely with area growers, the Station is a vital outreach and research center charged with maintaining and enhancing the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry. The official groundbreaking occurred in October of 2021, with ongoing construction currently underway, with anticipated completion in early 2023.

 

“Cranberries are an essential part of the economy and culture of the Southcoast,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “This month, we honor growers across Cranberry Country and the iconic regional fruit they harvest; I am proud to represent many of them and champion substantive legislation to advance the cranberry industry as a whole.”

 

“I am extremely pleased to be celebrating October 2022 as Massachusetts Cranberry Month,” said Dean of the Massachusetts Senate Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “The Commonwealth’s cranberry industry has historically served as one of our most abundant statewide agricultural sectors - especially in the Southeast region I proudly represent.  With Massachusetts responsible for over 1/5 of our country’s domestic cranberry production, I am glad we are taking the opportunity to recognize the valuable opportunities that this agricultural sector continues to provide for our Commonwealth.”

 

“The cranberry harvest is an ideal time to publicly recognize the contributions that cranberries and cranberry growers have made to the commonwealth’s economy and culture for more than 200 years, and with my partners in the legislature and administration, I will continue to advocate for state initiatives that support growers as they adapt to climate change and a challenging global market,” said State Representative Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett), who has served as co-chair of the UMass-Amherst Cranberry Station Board of Oversight since 2015. 

 

“The cranberry industry has been of vital importance to agriculture in the Commonwealth and especially here on the south coast, the heart of cranberry country,” said State Representative Susan Gifford (R-Wareham). “We are grateful to have an Administration that recognizes the important role cranberries play in our economy and the challenges that face our growers.  I was honored to have served as a member of the Cranberry Revitalization Task force and I am pleased that we are still seeing the benefits of our work.”

 

In recent years, the Baker-Polito Administration has worked in partnership with stakeholders to strengthen and the support the cranberry industry. In October 2019, the Administration announced $991,837 to 21 cranberry growers for bog renovation projects in MDAR’s Massachusetts Cranberry Bog Renovation Enhancement Grant Program to help renovate existing cranberry bogs, providing higher yields and more efficient methods of cranberry production for participating growers. Furthermore, in June 2017, the Massachusetts Cranberry Revitalization Task Force released its final report with recommendations to preserve and strengthen Massachusetts’ cranberry industry. The Task Force, composed of 18 government officials and stakeholders within the cranberry industry, was created by the Legislature in July 2015 to examine the status of the industry and the complex challenges ahead and to develop a multi-pronged action plan geared toward stabilizing and revitalizing the cranberry industry.

 

For more information regarding the cranberry industry or details on how to visit a cranberry bog this fall, including tours that are being offering every weekend in October and the first weekend in November, please visit the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association’s (CCCGA) website.

波士頓市議會推出選舉區域重劃計畫

 REDISTRICTING LEADERS INTRODUCE PROPOSED PLAN

Proposal would create City’s fourth 60 percent minority-opportunity district by voting age population

Boston, Mass. – A Boston City Council redistricting plan was introduced today by Committee on Redistricting Chair Liz Breadon and Vice Chair Brian Worrell. The ordinance, filed as Docket #1216, is the third proposed map sent to the Committee for review. All materials will be made available on the Committee website at boston.gov/redistricting.

The Breadon-Worrell Plan makes a total of 18 precinct reassignments between current and proposed districts, with eight such precincts located along the Dorchester Avenue boundaries of Districts 3 and 4, while maintaining two predominantly Dorchester-based districts for the largest neighborhood of the City. 

The plan bolsters District 3 into an effective minority-opportunity district by surpassing a 60 percent threshold of minority Voting Age Population (VAP), a first for the district in the City’s forty year history of district-based Council elections since 1983. Among current proposals, the plan would also have the least amount of minority residents affected by their voting precinct changing between districts.


Minority Population by District


Current District Boundaries

Proposed #1216


2010 Census

2020 Census

2020 Census


Total

VAP

Total

VAP

Total

VAP

District 1

44.1%

39.9%

46.8%

42.8%

46.0%

42.1%

District 2

31.1%

28.1%

32.3%

30.2%

32.4%

30.3%

District 3

62.3%

58.3%

61.8%

58.5%

64.9%

61.5%

District 4

91.8%

90.1%

90.9%

89.4%

89.5%

87.8%

District 5

72.6%

68.8%

75.5%

73.3%

72.9%

70.6%

District 6

36.1%

32.9%

39.4%

37.2%

39.7%

37.6%

District 7

75.4%

70.1%

76.5%

73.0%

75.7%

72.2%

District 8

32.6%

31.3%

40.9%

39.9%

40.3%

39.3%

District 9

33.9%

31.8%

41.1%

39.4%

41.1%

39.4%

Boston

53.0%

48.2%

55.4%

51.9%

55.4%

51.9%


Adapted from BPDA Research Division analysis of Census Bureau data,

according to Department of Justice redistricting guidelines

“We believe our plan proposes a result which the Committee, the Council, and the City could view as a transformative advancement toward equitable representation for protected classes under the Voting Rights Act,” said Committee Chair and District 9 Councilor Liz Breadon. “I look forward to the community process where we will work with colleagues and hear from residents over the coming weeks.”

"The people of Boston deserve City Council districts that represent them, their unique values, and amplify their voices. Our proposal accomplishes an aggressive agenda that moves Boston forward,” said Committee Vice Chair and District 4 Councilor Brian Worrell. “We are ensuring a robust engagement plan that involves gathering feedback from different communities to create fair and equitable maps.”



MAYOR WU ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF DIGITAL EQUITY ASSESSMENT AND SHARES NEXT STEPS FOR A MORE CONNECTED BOSTON

MAYOR WU ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF DIGITAL EQUITY ASSESSMENT AND SHARES NEXT STEPS FOR A MORE CONNECTED BOSTON 

 

BOSTON - Thursday, October 6, 2022 - Mayor Michelle Wu today shared the results of a comprehensive digital equity assessment which will inform the development of a plan to build a more connected Boston, expand digital services, and ensure all residents thrive with improved access to digital technologies. This digital equity plan will drive Boston’s work to connect every family to digital services and opportunity.

 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 32,000 Boston households did not have broadband access. The pandemic reinforced the importance of high speed internet, necessary for conferencing systems and other bandwidth intensive services (currently measured on a federal level as 25 megabits for download and 3 megabits for upload). This digital divide reinforces inequalities across Boston as access to broadband is critical for residents to study or work remotely, access telehealth and government services, and stay connected with their communities. 

 

“Digital access to education, opportunity, healthcare, and government services enable our communities to thrive,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We must work to improve our understanding of the gaps that some of our neighbors experience, and bridge those gaps.”

 

“Having access to the internet and the knowledge of how to use digital resources are crucial for our residents, immigrant neighbors, Boston Housing Authority residents, and communities of color to engage in everyday life, and it is important that we ensure internet access and digital equity for everyone,” said City Council President Ed Flynn. “I want to thank Mayor Wu and her Administration for their work in advancing digital equity. I’m committed to working with everyone on bridging the Digital Divide.”

 

“I’m proud that the Boston City Council proactively funded this study and also recently dedicated $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to programs to improve digital equity across all our communities,” said Councilor Kenzie Bok, chair of the Committee on City Services and Innovation Technology. “Access to the internet is not an optional amenity that should be rationed by ability to pay: it is an essential utility for work, school, and civic participation for every Bostonian.”

 

The digital equity assessmentAnalysis of Broadband Availability, Digital Equity Programs, and Fiber Build Costs, prepared for the City by CTC Technology and Energy (CTC) identified that in the past decade Boston residents have gained increased access to different internet service providers. This increase in options has led to higher quality and lower costs given the same level of connectivity. The assessment also notes that affordability, quality of service, skills and attitudes continue to present gaps for some communities, especially households that already require housing support or face other barriers. This assessment has informed the City’s current initiatives in the short term and will guide the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) next steps to improve data around existing digital gaps and needs. An executive summary of the report is available here.

 

Based on the findings of the assessment, the City will create a digital equity plan to identify digital needs and opportunities of Boston's communities, as well as grow existing programs and evaluate their impact Citywide. The plan will provide a crucial framework to remove barriers around digital access and help give all Boston residents the opportunity to thrive. The City will engage residents, service providers, and other key partners to develop the plan, which will guide the City’s digital equity work across departments and be shared with the state as it develops its digital equity plan.

 

“At the beginning of the pandemic about 32,000 households did not have broadband access. Today 30,000 households in Boston have been enrolled in new federal broadband benefits available through the Affordable Connectivity Program,” said Chief Information Officer Santiago Garces. “Since May of this year our team has worked to enroll almost 10,000 households through close partnership with service providers and community organizations. We have more work ahead, especially as we work to make digital access more resilient to changing circumstances as we saw during the pandemic.”

 

The City intends to select a partner to develop a digital equity survey that will be used as a key mechanism moving forward to more consistently engage Boston residents around their digital access. The survey aims to identify areas of need in specific communities and serve as a foundation for the City to work collaboratively to address gaps with those groups. The survey will be designed and delivered throughout the next year.

 

The Department of Information Technology (DoIT) is focused on engaging residents around access to digital tools and connectivity, expanding existing programming, and launching new initiatives to boldly address digital gaps. 

 

In February, Mayor Wu and Senator Ed Markey announced an investment of over $12 million to bring digital equity and inclusion to nearly 23,000 Boston public housing residents, library users, and school-age families through the Long Term Lending program. The program bridges the digital divide by providing free access to 6,200 Chromebook laptops and 3,000 Wi-Fi routers, supported through funding from the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund. The Boston Public Library, Boston Housing Authority, and over 20 community partners have distributed over 7,000 of these devices to Boston residents. BPL patrons can request a Chromebook at www.bpl.org/long-term-lending/

 

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program providing $14.2 billion to expand broadband affordability. ACP provides eligible households with a subsidy for broadband service ($30/month) and up to $100 in a one-time discount for a digital device. The program was funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts (IIJA) in 2021, with the strong support of Senator Markey. Over 30,000 Boston households have signed up for broadband service and devices through ACP, including 10,000 that have been enrolled since May 2022 through close partnership with service providers and community organizations.

 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on inequities, and particularly on the digital divide that’s impacting our young learners. The Emergency Connectivity Fund delivered a long-overdue investment for Boston families and their students so that all of the Commonwealth’s kids have the opportunity to learn online and offline,” said Senator Ed Markey. “Across the country, millions of broadband connections have been made to students who once lacked access to a reliable internet connection at home. As this funding begins to run dry, we must fight to preserve these hard-earned gains by finding a permanent solution to the Homework Gap and keeping Boston’s students and their educators connected.”

 

Additionally, DoIT and CTC will launch two broadband speed tests. The free Speed Survey will gauge the upload and download speeds of Boston households. This survey is available on the City website here. The long-term Speed Test will continuously sample every neighborhood's speed using a device that will be plugged into the routers of volunteer residents. Over the next several months, CTC will partner with the City and volunteers to monitor and collect data on the quality of broadband in every neighborhood and report those findings publicly. These tests will inform the City’s advocacy for consistent and reliable broadband quality and availability.