Meacham first came to Boston to attend MIT, but, radicalized by civil rights and black power struggles, dropped out in 1972. Since then, he has “never regretted” joining a variety of people's movements.
In 1977, he found a job in a shipyard near Boston and became a rank-and-file activist with the now-defunct Shipbuilders Union. The daily exposure to serious short- and long-term health hazards and constant management repression, Meacham says, made the shipyard a “school of struggle” that “made class in this country crystal clear.” He worked at the yard until its closure in 1986, when he returned to housing organizing. In 1999, he joined City Life, and throughout the recession has organized against foreclosures and evictions.
National Fight Back Conference
Steve Meacham was a Massachusetts delegate to the October League's December 1975 "National Fight Back Conference" in Chicago.
Steve Meacham, community organizer Massachusetts, contributed an article to Freedom Road Socialist Organization's Forward Motion, September 1991 issue "Popular power in Haiti", about his recent trip there with the Cambridge Goodwill Tour to Haiti.
Eviction Free Zone
Boston Social Forum
- This workshop will look specifically at City Life/Vida Urbana's experience in developing a radical organizing model that links tenant organizing fights against displacement to a multi issue agenda and an analysis of the "big picture." How do the City Life discussion groups connect to a tradition of popular education in the Freire model?
Panelists: Elena Blanco, Cheryl Lawrence, Steve Meacham, Mark Pedulla, from City Life/Vida Urbana, Dawn Belkin, a volunteer activist with City Life and a mental health worker who also uses Freire methods in her work.
Left Forum 2011
Community Organizing: Building Solidarity, Addressing Contradictions:
- Max Rameau, Take Back the Land
- Rob Robertson, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
- Robert Fisher, University of Connecticut
- Steve Meacham, City Life/Vida Urbana
Ear to the Ground Project
- We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:
Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
LeftRoots strategy team, October 2017.
LeftRoots Strategy Lab Advance Team
LeftRoots Strategy Lab Advance Team, 2019.
- “The Germinator”
- M “Iron Chef”
- Merle “The Marxist Personal Trainer” Ratner
- Milena “The Architect” Velis
- Rapheal “The Warrior Heart” Randall
- Steve “The Bard” and “The Mechanic” Meacham
- S “The Bat with the Bad Knees”
- Steve “Lighter of Paths” Williams
- Toussaint “The Revolutionary Excavator” Losier
Jim Brooks Act
Over 150 people took to the streets of Roxbury on Saturday, March 17 to stand in solidarity with tenants facing eviction in the area, and to urge a state house vote on the Jim Brooks Act which would potentially curb housing displacement in Boston. Despite the rally’s large attendance and political support, the Massachusetts General Court ultimately decided to postpone the Jim Brooks Act vote by six weeks.
Led by housing advocacy group City Life/Vida Urbana, demonstrators and activists started at the Walnut Park Play Area in Roxbury, where they demanded a more ethical housing market and an end to rising rent prices. City Life/Vida Urbana and other housing advocacy groups attest that with the rising rent prices, Boston has also seen an increase in evictions in recent years, with working class and minority families baring the worst of the changes.
The Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians (BABAM!) — there to lead protesters in song — played tunes such as “Down By the Riverside,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “This Little Light Of Mine” between tenants’ testimonies. given by distraught Xavier was one such tenant, who was relatively new to Roxbury and shocked at the conditions he and his friends found themselves in.
City Councilors Kim Janey and Ayanna Pressley also spoke at the rally, calling for an end to the detrimental housing trends and for the Massachusetts General Court to stop delaying their vote on the Jim Brooks Act.
“It’s a war on families, a war on poor people,” Councilor Janey said, before starting a chant of “Hell no, we won’t go.”
“This is everyone’s problem,” Councilor Pressley said. “[The state house] keeps saying we need more data; you are the data. We don’t need anymore data.”
While housing justice activists continue to demand a more equitable system, the fate of the Jim Brooks Act seems hard to predict for some. “It’s all a matter of logic vs. real estate money,” said Steve Meacham, a community organizer for City Life. “[The Jim Brooks Act] is a very modest proposal… real estate working groups had even said they weren’t against it. But now they’re attacking it full throttle.”