East Boston’s Mothers out Front Receives City Grant

Last week, the East Boston chapter of the national Mothers Out Front movement received a Love Your Block mini-grant from the City of Boston. The grant provides funding for neighborhoods throughout Boston to organize clean-ups and beautification projects. 

Mothers Out Front, a movement that encourages mothers across the nation to fight for meaningful environmental mitigation to ensure a liveable climate for children, will use the funds to build a community living wall for its residents. 

According to Mothers Out Front’s (MOF) Sonja Tengblad the community living wall will help educate the residents about the need for good air quality as the current air quality is poor due to the proximity of Logan Airport.

Tengblad said the community living wall is Inspired by London’s carbon sequestering moss walls. 

“Mothers Out Front East Boston designed a community art build to both empower and educate East Boston about air pollution,” said Tengblad. “Designed by MOF member Danielle Marie Emond, this Green Living Wall will spell the word “Aire” (air) using peat moss cups adhered to a chain link fence. It will be in Spanish not only to represent the neighborhood, but to illustrate how unfairly burdened people of color are by air pollution, and will include multilingual signage educating passersby about our air quality.”

Eastie artist Sury Chavez will design a sidewalk art project alongside the wall, giving families and community members more opportunities to participate. MOF volunteers will then host school groups and other visitors over a three-week period once it is up, facilitating discussions about air pollution, health, and climate change.”

Tengblad said a special unveiling is planned for Mother’s Day weekend 2021. 

With Eastie being an Environmental Justice Community, Tengblad said MOF’s Clean Air Force group has repeatedly pointed out the health inequities in the community.  

“African-American children have the highest prevalence of asthma and 68 percent of Latinos live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards compared to 58 percent of whites,” she said. “More than 1.81 million Latinos nationwide live within one half mile of existing oil and gas facilities and African-Americans are 75 percent more likely than others to live near facilities that produce hazardous waste. Latinos on average breathe in 63 percent more of the pollution than they make. For African-Americans the figure is 56 percent. Non-Latino whites on average are exposed to 17 percent less air pollution than they make according to recent studies released this year.”

Mayor Martin Walsh said these grants go a long way to help bring residents and communities together to beautify even more of our neighborhoods and call attention to environmental issues in Boston.  

“Through the Love Your Block program, we are encouraging residents of Boston to show their love for their neighborhoods, one block at a time,’ he said. 

The city’s Director of Office of Public Service Kaira Fox added, “Our City is going through a trying time and I am happy that programs like Love Your Block exist to bring residents not only hope but a physical change that positively impacts their surroundings. Beautification is healing to these communities and our 2020-2021 winners will create bright spots for their residents amid the adverse effects of COVID-19.”

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