Kalila Barnett last month became the new executive director of Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), a Roxbury-based organization that works on environmental justice issues. Her appointment comes after serving five years on ACE’s board of directors.
In her new role, Barnett succeeds Penn Loh, who had served as ACE’s director since 2000 and oversaw its growth in to an organization with more than 600 members.
“[Barnett] truly embodies ACE’s next era, having deep roots in the neighborhoods we serve and … extensive experience in community organizing,” said Loh. “ACE is at the beginning of our next great journey to build a green and equitable economy for the 21st century. I am confident that Kalila brings the passion, commitment and experience necessary to move us all forward together.”
Born and raised in Roxbury, Barnett has nearly a decade of experience in community organizing, specifically focused on the issues of community development, affordable housing and environmental justice in Boston.
“I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity to work at ACE as the executive director. ACE has never been an organization to shy away from a challenge, and now is no exception,” said Barnett. “Our vision for the next few years includes continuing to strengthen our membership base through more intensive leadership development with our core leaders, incorporating our analysis of economic and climate justice into our day-to-day work and growing ACE’s presence in Dudley Square.”
Barnett is ACE’s fourth executive director, and the second woman of color and first Boston native to serve in the role. Founding co-directors Bill Shutkin and Charlie Lord stepped down in 1998 to make way for new leadership of color. In 2000, Loh succeeded Veronica Eady when she became the state’s first environmental justice and brownfields coordinator.