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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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Walsh, Jackson focus on mobilizing supporters

Issues take a back seat to candidates’ ground game

Mayor Martin Walsh and District 7 Tito Jackson face off for the first time next Tuesday during the mayoral preliminary balloting. There have been no debates, but both candidates have staked out key positions on issues critical to voters.

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Renovations completed on Freedom House

Electeds, neighbors turn out to celebrate venerable agency’s new digs

Two years and $2.5 million later, the new Freedom House recently held its formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, with elected officials, community members and the students and staff who are in Freedom House on a daily basis.

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Students unenrolled from Egleston

No explanation as enrollment drops by 104

Greater Egleston High School’s student count has dropped from 185 to 79, according to a posting from an anonymous source on the Universal Hub news website. The abrupt mass un-enrollment[MD1] at the school comes just days before the district calculates official enrollment numbers — a process through which Boston Public Schools determines the per-pupil funding each school will receive.

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Re-writing Boston’s history of slavery

Efforts underway to change historic names

Dorchester activist Kevin Peterson wants Boston to remove Peter Faneuil’s name from the iconic building he built for the city in 1742. Roxbury activist Sadiki Kambon is calling for the city to strike the name “Dudley” from Roxbury’s commercial center and replace it with the name “Nubian Square.”

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Growing role for computers in Massachusetts school systems

When Boston students return to school this Thursday, most will sit in a circle or rows, facing a teacher and a blackboard. But across the country, a growing number of students are eschewing classrooms for computer screens as part of the growing field of personalized learning.

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Vegan vibe in Dorchester

Couple opens Four Corners restaurant to meet growing demand

Last week, Jahriffe MacKenzie and Nahdra Ra Kiros opened Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with stews, lentil dishes, sandwiches and wraps, smoothies, natural juices and teas.

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Cruz cuts ribbon on renovated affordable development

Cruz Companies President and CEO John Cruz joined Mayor Martin Walsh, state Housing Secretary John Ash and state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry for the ceremonial event held on the Blue Hill Avenue portion of the development outside Mattapan Square.

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Arroyo fired in midst of MCAD investigation

Mayor Martin Walsh fired Chief of Health and Human Services Felix G. Arroyo last week amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

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Trial Court offers to reinstate Arroyo, seeks control over hiring

Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo can return to the Registry in October, Massachusetts Trial Court officials said last week, if he agrees to let them supervise the process of hiring deputy administrators.

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45 Townsend project sparks neighborhood ire

Locals object to density, lack of parking

Members of the Kensington Investment Company’s 45 Townsend Street team displayed a 3-D rendering of their planned housing development at a meeting last week, and discussed its features: indoor and outdoor public spaces, an orchard on the premises, and the three large energy-efficient buildings they plan to construct on the site of the former Radius Hospital. Community members listening to the presentation during a Boston Planning and Development Agency meeting last week questioned the impact the 311-unit project would have on their densely-packed residential neighborhood, with its paucity of parking spaces and congested intersections.

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Mayor, elected officials denounce planned white supremacist rally

Civic leaders call for calm as supremacists plan rally

In a message aimed at white supremacist groups who are reportedly planning a rally on the Boston Common this coming Saturday, Mayor Martin Walsh pledged that city officials would “do every single thing in our power to keep hate out of our city.”

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Dominican culture and politics mingle in parade

Candidates press for community’s votes

From Hyde Square to Franklin Park, thousands of lined the parade route of the Dominican Festival parade Sunday morning as the annual event returned to Roxbury from downtown.

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Activists press Gov. Baker on cooperation with U.S. Immigration

Immigrant activists clashed with prominent Republicans last week after state lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker announced a proposal that would allow local law enforcement to detain immigrants on behalf of federal immigration authorities.

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Boston’s Puerto Rican festival: A 50-year tradition

Music, culture of the island celebrated at City Hall

Over the last 50 years, the festival has become a mainstay for Boston’s Puerto Rican community, and one of the largest cultural festivals in the city. Sunday, the festival featured an all-star lineup of musical acts, including salsa legend Tony Vega. Today’s Puerto Rican festival draws thousands of people from throughout Massachusetts.

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Public probes Dudley tower plan

Affordability, parking, condos discussed

Affordability, density and parking have become the three points of contention between real estate developers and residents of Boston neighborhoods. In Dudley Square, where a team of black developers is planning a 26-story office and residential tower, those factors were at the forefront of a meeting with the development’s project review committee.

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City poised to sell off Roxbury land

BPDA begins land disposition process

Local residents had a chance recently to browse maps showing eight vacant Roxbury land parcels owned by the Boston Planning and Development Authority and give feedback on possible development of the sites. The displays were set up in the community room on the top floor of the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building July 17, and Roxbury community members took a look and voiced some thoughts at a BPDA-hosted public meeting.

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Good fences, good business

Dorchester company finds success with commercial clients

Ralph McCoy founded McCoy Fence Co. in 1988, after working for another fence company. With seven employees, he tackles projects for the city, state, commercial and private clients.

ACLU criminal justice reform campaign takes aim at district attorneys

Set to launch voter education campaign

The ACLU is looking to increase voter awareness about district attorneys with a voter education project called “What a Difference a DA Makes.”

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Activists denounce ICE deportations

High-profile cases stoke immigrants’ fears

Last week, immigrant activists gathered at the Boston Irish Famine memorial on Washington Street for a rally with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey protesting anti-immigration legislation in Congress and what they described as the Trump administration’s “mass deportation strategy.”

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Mayor convenes Boston summit on surge in violent crime

Participants call for long-term violence prevention

Last week, Mayor Martin Walsh held a summit at City Hall with police and anti-violence activists to discuss strategies for combating the rise in shootings in Boston. In a press conference with reporters afterward, Walsh and others said they are looking at long-term strategies to help so-called at-risk youth.

Problems persist in Suffolk Probate Court

Employees cite ongoing discrimination, mismanagement under interim director

In the four months since Felix D. Arroyo was removed from his post as the Suffolk County Register of Probate, lines remain long, case files still go missing and staff treat people of color — including filers, attorneys and staff — with blatant disrespect, according to staff and attorneys interviewed by the Banner.

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Boston District 7 candidates face off in debate over city issues

Eleven of 13 display varying knowledge of policy

Eleven of the thirteen candidates for the District 7 City Council seat soon to be vacated by Tito Jackson turned out for a debate in Grove Hall last week.

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‘America; I too’ brings immigration issues to Roxbury Film Festival

The 20-minute short, shot over the course of three days in March, tells the story of three fictional undocumented immigrants caught up in ICE raids: a Mexican teenager, a Somali pizza deliveryman and a Chinese seamstress who is the sole caregiver for her autistic granddaughter. The film depicts their struggles as they confront scenarios drawn from real stories of former detainees who have worked with CHIRLA.

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With influx of addicts, needles proliferate in Boston parks

Statewide heroin problem has local impact

Roxbury and Dorchester residents are keeping their children out of local parks to avoid accidental contact with the hypodermic needles that are the byproduct of the state’s opiod epidemic.

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Boston school students advocate for free bus passes

Boston public school students say the two-mile walk zone within which students are not eligible for free bus passes forces many to endure 40-minute walks to school.

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Report: Boston Latinos get slim share of city jobs

The Greater Boston Latino Network released its Silent Crisis II report, detailing the lack of Latinos in high-ranking city jobs and on boards and commissions with decision-making power in the city.

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Eastern Bank growth fund targets minority-owned firms

Through Business Equity Initiative, Eastern Bank is stepping up with a $10 million growth fund aimed at providing loans to build the capacity of businesses owned by people of color.

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Boston developers build affordable homes

City gives construction firms land, subsidies

The city’s Neighborhood Homes Initiative has identified 250 parcels of city-owned land for housing construction. So far, 69 units have been built through the program.

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Historic Roxbury clock tolls again as First Church undergoes renovations

The clock atop the First Church of Roxbury, which began ticking in 1863, is now working again as part of a $3 million renovation of the 1801 Unitarian Church.

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Campaigns in full swing at Dorchester Day parade

Candidates’ nomination papers are in and the Dorchester Day parade represents the first major event where campaigns can show off their strength.

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Capuano: Trump budget poses challenges for local government

The Trump administration released a budget last week that proposes deep cuts to federal programs and taxes on the rich while increasing spending on the nation’s military – a controversial move that earned him praise from his base of conservative supporters and condemnation from Democrats and progressives.

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Guscott’s towering aspiration: 25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, business opportunities

25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, biz opportunities

The 25-story tower in Dudley Square is expected to enliven the area with nightlife, new shops and commercial space. Its creation also expands the capacity of black businesses and opens doors to other such sizeable projects. The development team sat down the Banner last week.

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Janey launches campaign for Roxbury's City Council seat, signatures submitted in District 7

Fifteen candidates vying for signatures, contributions in race for open seat

Long-time Roxbury activist Kim Janey kicked off her campaign for the District 7 City Council seat last week in a Dudley Square event. She and ten others have been certified to appear on the Sept. 26 preliminary ballot in the race to replace Tito Jackson, who is running for mayor.

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Thousands rally in Boston Common for Boston's public schools

Education activists call for more funding

Last November public education activists fended off Ballot Question 2, which would have lifted the state-wide cap on charter school expansion and diverted funds from local school districts. Saturday, many of the same activists who fought for a “no” vote were among the estimated 4,000 people who turned out to the Boston Common for the Rally for Public Education event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.

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Boston University professor Travis Bristol studies hiring, retention of teachers of color

Travis Bristol is an assistant professor in English education at the Boston University School of Education who researches district- and school-based practices that support teachers of color; national, state, and local education policies that enable and constrain the workplace experiences and retention for teachers of color; the intersection of race and gender in schools.

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Divisions in political base present challenge for Walsh in Boston mayor’s race

Interests of police unions, Trump supporters, black voters at odds

In his 2013 upset win over at-large City Councilor John Connolly, Mayor Martin Walsh, then a Dorchester state representative, prevailed by a thin three-percentage-points. He drew heavily on support from predominantly black and Latino precincts in Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury. But now the disparate groups Walsh depended on for electoral victory find themselves at odds over critical issues.

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New Codman Square units put small dent in Boston’s affordable housing crisis

Rents stabilizing in older housing stock

Mayor Martin Walsh joined neighborhood activists to cut the ribbon on 44 new units of affordable housing in the Codman Square area Monday. In a city where 21,865 residential units were permitted at the beginning of the year, the ones in Dorchester stood out.

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Commuters ride for free on Fairmount Line for two weeks

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano pays riders’ fares with campaign funds

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano joined local activists and state officials to kick off two weeks of free rides on the Fairmount Line, for which he will pay using his campaign account.

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Boston mayoral candidates compete for signatures

Candidates descend on Dudley seeking supporters

Nomination papers were issued last week for the 2017 mayoral and city council races, and candidates wasted little time hitting the streets, some as solo acts, others with armies of volunteers to collect the signatures they will need to secure a spot on the Sept. 26 ballot.

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LISC connects businesses to opportunities

Impact Lending program helps minority- and women-owned businesses scale up with loans, access to contracts at NU

For many small businesses, access to capital is a critical need. But obtaining a loan can be a challenge, particularly for small start-up businesses, creating a chicken-and-egg feedback loop that prevents them from bidding on large contracts. Through a partnership between the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Northeastern University, local Boston-area businesses have a new opportunity to scale up their business and obtain the funding to do so.

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School department seeks input on BuildBPS

Parents’ questions focused more on issues facing current students

A year ago city officials seemed poised to close schools following the release of a hastily-prepared audit that found an excess of seats in the city’s stock of 125 buildings. Last week, as city officials made a public presentation of BuildBPS, a planning process for facilities improvements to the city’s school buildings, they cited a shortage of space in the city’s schools for the kinds of classrooms students will need for 21st century learning.

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Dorchester entrepreneur provides employment for locals with Boston Cleaning Company

Abeeku Barrow founded Boston Cleaning Company in 2012, hiring local young adults to to clean commercial buildings.

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Do your homework before buying a condo

Expert urges buyers to assess health of condo association

Condominiums present an often easy path to home ownership for many, yet a little research can save buyers years of headaches.

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Dudley branch library slated for $14.7 million renovation

Architects propose new entrance, glass walls facing redesigned sidewalk areas

When the planned $14 million renovation Mayor Martin Walsh announced in his capital plan last week is completed, library officials hope that the Dudley Branch library will have spaces better suited for the evolving needs of the Roxbury community the building serves.

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Lower Mills shop owner enjoys freedom of self-employment with Archangel Boutique

After earning a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College in 2000, Lashonda Jefferson went to work in the corporate sector, earning a salary that enabled her to pay off student loans. But after several years, Jefferson couldn’t give up the entrepreneurial itch. Since her days as a high school student at West Roxbury High School, she had an interest in fashion. Opening a clothing store seemed like the right mix of passion and practicality. Over the last ten years, she has built her store, Archangel Boutique, into a profitable business that provides her full-time employment.

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UMass students, staff voice concerns at trustee meeting

Many blast Motley’s perceived ouster, speak out against cuts, dropped courses

Students, faculty and staff from UMass Boston interrupted a meeting of the UMass Board of Trustees chanting “No cuts, no hikes! Education is a right!” last Thursday, underscoring anger that surfaced after revelations the school’s annual deficit may be as high as $30 million, along with what many perceive as the forced resignation of Chancellor Keith Motley.

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Parents call for release of data on equity in BPS assignment policy

When the current home-based student assignment policy was instituted in 2013, BPS officials promised to make public an annual assessment of how the policy would affect equity in the system. While officials in the administration of then-mayor Thomas Menino assured parent activists the new system would ensure that every student has access to high-performing schools, many feared the change from the previous zoned assignment system would limit choices parents of the black and Latino students who make up the majority of those in BPS schools.

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From Hollywood to the business world

Former casting associate helps people follow their passion

When Jones entered coaching, the field was in its infancy. She began by obtaining a masters in social work from the University of Southern California, hung out her shingle and began working with businesses and nonprofits. Initially, she offered program design — the art of fleshing out ideas for new programs to serve emerging needs. The field of coaching, although now well established, was yet to be recognized.

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Congressman talks straight with constituents on challenging times ahead

Capuano discusses GOP, Trump agenda

Congressman Michael Capuano spoke to a crowd at the Mildred Avenue school in Mattapan about challenges Democrats face in working with the Trump administration and a Republican majority.

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Deeqo Jibril’s campaign launch kicks off race for District 7 seat

Packs Hibernian Hall with supporters, would be first Somali-American elected in Massachusetts

With a crowd of about 200 in the audience, District 7 candidate Deeqo Jibril formally kicked off her campaign for the City Council seat being vacated by Tito Jackson, who announced his bid for mayor in January.

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