Women’s Victories and Voices

Access is proud that our grantees engaged in two campaigns that ended in victory at the State House thanks in large part to grassroots women leaders who organized alongside men to make major gains for ballot access and CORI reform.

After years of organizing, voter engagement, grassroots advocacy, marches, and community events, grantees Boston Workers Alliance, EPOCA, Neighbor to Neighbor, and Union of Minority Neighborhoods got policy enacted to remove questions about arrests and convictions from job applications. The policy also allows criminal records to be sealed after ten years (was 15 years) for felonies and five years (was 10 years) for misdemeanors. Law enforcement will still have access to CORI records for sex and homicide offenders.

View the exciting video of the CORI bill signing.

For many years, grantee Chinese Progressive Association has fought for Asian American voting rights by advocating for bilingual ballots to improve access to voting.  Thanks to their strong leadership, on July 31st, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law legislation requiring the City of Boston to prepare ballots in Chinese and Vietnamese for all federal, state and local elections. The measure, a Boston home-rule petition, also calls for Chinese ballots to be transliterated by the Boston Board of Election Commissioners to include Chinese characters that represent the phonetic equivalent of the syllables of an English name.

We applaud the efforts of the many women that worked on these campaigns and we name a few of our grantee leaders in recognition of their outstanding leadership:

CORI Reform:

Maggie Brown, Boston Worker’s Alliance

Delia Vega, EPOCA

Wilnelia Rivera, Neighbor to Neighbor

Cathy Hennessey, Union of Minority Neighborhoods

Ballot Access for Chinese and Vietnamese Voters:

Lydia Lowe, Chinese Progressive Association

Learn more about our recent grantees and how they are changing our lives.