Help Save the Lower Mills Library! Part 2

As we had previously posted, the Trustees of the Boston Public Library are threatening to close the Lower Mills Branch of the library. Where they should be finding ways to equally distribute the budget issues caused by the poor economy across the system, instead they are targeting a vibrant part of our community for closure. There will be an important public working session on Monday October 25 at 6:30 pm at the Lower Mills Branch (27 Richmond Street in Dorchester) and we encourage everyone to come and make their voice heard.


Mac D'Alessandro for Congress

Since this blog is meant to highlight the activism that occurs in Dorchester and the hopes we have for future action, we believe that our success for community improvement is completely linked to the actions of those in politics. As a result, we have decided to make our first endorsement of a person running for political office.

This Tuesday (September 14th) will be the Massachusetts Democratic primary and we are urging support for Mac D'Alessandro as the future representative for the 9th Congressional District (which covers most of the eastern part of Dorchester). We think Mac offers a new perspective and the progressive values that will help Dorchester (and the other neighborhoods of Boston) continue to make progress. He is the candidate who is most likely to support the grassroots work that has been started by so many of our community members. However, we ask you to consider doing your own research on his positions. This can be found at his website www.mac4congress2010.com.

Whomever you choose, we strongly encourage you to vote this Tuesday, because having your voice heard is the most important way we can support Dorchester. If you need to find out your polling place, the Secretary of the Commonwealth has a website: wheredoivotema.com. And thank you for participating in our democracy!


Calling All Dorchester Artists

The Dorchester Arts Collaborative (DAC) has an open call for participants in their 2010 Open Studios on October 23rd and 24th. Please consider registering for Open Studios. For more information, go to www.thedac.org and click on “Open Studios.” Registration before September 1st is only $40 and guarantees that your name and site location will be on the map and all collateral materials (registration after September 1st goes up to $65).


#10 Art and Music Performance Spaces Needed

It is clear from the numerous artists in our studios, to the plenitude of singers, bands, and hip hop acts that practice in our basements, to the all of our young people attending Boston Arts Academy and the other art and music programs in our schools, that Dorchester has talent! And Dorchester needs more places for our musicians, poets, and artists to display their amazing art in our neighborhood.

Although there are some local establishments that display our artists' work (such as the Ashmont Grill, Flat Black Coffee, Dot 2 Dot, and of course the Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts), this should become more widespread throughout Dorchester and be expanded to include open mic nights for musicians and poetry slams for poets (not to mention helping them creating more art here, as opposed to taking the Red Line out to the other neighborhoods of the city or Cambridge). At the same time, this will help foster a boom of art appreciation among residents and give our teenagers a safe and productive place to spend their time. As a result, we propose the following ideas:

1. If you are a coffee shop or local restaurant, offer one night a week to be an open mic night or poetry slam. Not only will it bring more people into your place of business to hear live music (and purchase things from you), but it will also help local musicians and poets.

2. There are a number of vacant store fronts along Dorchester Ave., Blue Hill Ave., and the other thoroughfares in the neighborhood, these are all prospective places to open an art house to display local artwork and provide a space for musical groups and poets to perform. If you rent property (especially in places that are T accessible) and you have not been able to rent it out for some time, consider offering it for free (or low rent) to a local music and art groups for performances.

3. If you have a local business or restaurant, encourage local artists to display their work on your walls. We have a list of the websites of many local artists on this website. Send them an e-mail if you like their work and invite them to display their artwork (and post contact info if people are interested in adding to their own collections).

4. The MBTA should create designated performance areas for musicians at the four MBTA stations in Dorchester that currently do not allow performances (Savin Hill, Fields Corner, Shawmut, and Ashmont - JFK/UMASS already has a designated performance space), allowing a free place for our neighbors to perform (We would also like to highlight that fact that all red line stops in Cambridge and Somerville have performance spaces... Why not Dot?). Let the T know by contacting them at: MBTA Customer Feedback.

Do you think this is a good idea? Rate below.

Highlight on Activism: DotOUT

Continuing our segment that highlights those who are activists in our community. Our second featured group is DotOUT.

DotOUT is a local organization committed to acceptance, inclusion, and equality for all. The group focuses more specifically on activism related to issues facing the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Dorchester's gay and lesbian residents have a long history of contributing to the neighborhood, but in the last decade this community has become more visible and vibrant. DotOUT is also highly engaged politically, including a passionate debate over mayor candidate endorsements at a meeting in 2009 that stirred the local press, such as the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, Bay Windows, and Dorchester Reporter. With important national debates over marriage rights and anti-discrimination legislation, we are proud that our community has such a strong LGBTQ voice!

To find out more about DotOUT or attend their meetings, check out their website: www.dotout.org

To read more about the history of DotOUT, check out this Boston Globe article from 2005: Under a rainbow flag, linking the Dots

DotOUT's float in the 2009 Dot Day parade. Possibly one of the greatest floats in parade history. (Picture by Dottie Hottie)


"Dorchester People" in the United Kingdom?

Our brothers and sisters on the other side of the pond (the original Dorchesterites in the UK) have recently contacted us about their local community website. We encourage you to check it out... www.dorchesterpeople.co.uk


Help Save the Lower Mills Library!

The Trustees of the Boston Public Library (BPL) have made a purposeful choice to close the Lower Mills library (and branches in East Boston, Brighton, and South Boston) and we are asking that as community members you take action to help prevent this from happening. In Lower Mills, the library serves such an important role as place for both education and community building and closing it jeopardizes the centerpiece of this section of the neighborhood, one that has existed since 1875.

What can you do:
1. Attend the benefit at Ledge (2261 Dorchester Avenue) on Wednesday, April 14th at 6 pm. Cost is $15. Call Vic Campbell at 617.822.4046 for more information.
2. Go to the Lower Mills Library and find out how to sign the petition.
3. Write the mayor, our city councilors, and state representatives to tell them your personal stories about the Lower Mills library.

For more info read: the Dorchester Reporter Story with Video.


Haitian Earthquake Relief

Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and our neighbors here in Dorchester with family and friends there, who have suffered through this tragic earthquake.

Please consider making a donation to help with the relief work:
Doctors Without Borders*
Habitat for Humanity*
The Red Cross*
Partners in Health (Local Boston-based organization)

*=Received an A+, A, or A- from the American Institute for Philanthropy - a charity watch group.