March is Women’s History Month. Greenovate is featuring perspectives of women who share our commitment to climate action, and to making Boston a thriving, healthy, and innovative city. The first guest post is from Gail Miller, East Boston resident.
I have been a resident of East Boston since 1981. Since that time I have been involved in environmental issues affecting the community and our immediate region as a volunteer activist. For a short spell in the 80’s, I was employed by the Metropolitan District Commission as a liaison to the communities of East Boston, Winthrop, Chelsea, and Revere. From the mid 80’s, I became active with the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, a non-profit organization that advocated for what is now Belle Isle Marsh — a piece of land managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Boston’s largest remaining wetland at 360+ acres. This reservation is also enveloped by the borders of Beachmont, Revere, and Winthrop.
The land, once owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority, was transferred to the then Metropolitan District Commission through great advocacy by my foremothers in the East Boston Community — in particular Dr. Edith De Angelis, Mary Ellen Welch and Anna DeFronzo. Before and since that time, I have been involved with just about every environmental issue in the greater local communities.
As young folks become old enough to want a stake in their communities, I would simply urge them to never give up. Getting to your goal oftentimes takes years, not always but usually, years. In the process, attempt to gather the largest coalition of stakeholders similarly interested, and be clear about the goals. You may not obtain everything, or exactly what you set out to achieve, but keep in mind it is your vested interest in your environment that creates the passion to make the case — which will aid in ultimately achieving those goals. On any issue I have personally been involved with, this is the message I along with others have embraced each and every time.
As young folks become old enough to want a stake in their communities, I would simply urge them to never give up.
East Boston is one of THE greatest communities that I have ever lived in. There is a magic here, and the diverse neighborhood has always provided a comfort level through the people I have come to know. It seems there is passion for everything running through the veins of its residents, and collectively we have been able to achieve great things. While it has taken years to achieve our goals, it has been worth it. I just hope that the passion and activism in East Boston never dies.