Photo Credits
Photographers: Nancy Ford and Jacqueline Hicks
Makeup artist (for Monica Lewis-Patrick and Debra Taylor): Letitia Thornhill

Monica Lewis-Patrick
Co-Founder, President and CEO
Monica Lewis-Patrick (aka The Water Warrior) is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. She has served as Director of Community Outreach & Engagement since 2009. She was unanimously elected by the Board to become the President & CEO.

Lewis-Patrick is actively engaged in almost every struggle on behalf of Detroit residents. She is an active member of the People’s Water Board Coalition, US Human Rights Network, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and D-REM.org, and was named to the World Water Justice Council in October of 2015. As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council, Monica has authored legislation, conducted research and delivered constituency services to thousands of city residents.

Lewis-Patrick attended the historic Bennett College. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelors degree in Social Work and Sociology and a Masters of Arts of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice/Sociology and Public Management. She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit.

Debra Taylor
Co-Founder, Treasurer/Director of Finance & Development
Debra Taylor is a nationally recognized advocate, most notably for her work during the current Flint Water Crisis and Detroit Water Shutoffs. Her work on social and political advocacy of marginalized populations garnered her the Spirit of Detroit Award for the second time in 2012, for her work with We the People of Detroit (WTPD).

As the Co-Founder of WTPD, Debra was named the 2015 National Lawyer’s Guild Unsung Hero for her service to the community and the work she has done managing relations between the nonprofit's, public officials and community leaders. She is currently a fellow in the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), operated through the Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights.

She has her Masters degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University and a Bachelors in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.

Cecily McClellan
Co-Founder, Water Hotline Coordinator
Cecily R. McClellan is a native Detroiter with a heart for activism since childhood. She attended Detroit Public Schools and was part of the Association of Black Students at the former Eastern High School where the group was instrumental in changing not only the name of the high school to Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High but also curriculum and administration.

Cecily graduated from Oakland University with a BS degree in Economics and Management and from Central Michigan University with a MS in Administration Health and Human Services. After retirement from her career with the City of Detroit, Cecily continued to oppose the privatization of City of Detroit assets believing that public control serves the greater good while providing jobs, contracts and public access. It is this belief that led her to assist in organizing the Free Detroit­ - No Consent campaign to fight PA 4 and PA 436, emergency management law.

Cecily serves as the WTPD Water Hotline Coordinator. She is also the Vice President of the Woodward Village Neighborhood Association and a Board Member of the Storehouse of Hope, a non­profit association serving Detroit’s North End community.

Aurora Harris
Co-Founder, Director of Education
Aurora Harris is a community activist, educator, poet, multicultural expert and advocate of children, particularly those with special needs. Aurora is a native Detroiter with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts Degree in Social Foundations in Education from Eastern Michigan University.

Ms. Harris is a Lecturer II at the University of Michigan Dearborn, where she teaches both introductory and advanced level courses in topics including African American Literature, Twentieth Century African American Literature, writing and creative writing.

With WTPD, Aurora’s focus is education. She serves as the Director of Education, educating the public and victims of water shutoffs on lead poisoning and other health related issues arising from high lead levels or no access to water.

Phyllis (Chris) Griffith
Co-Founder
Phyllis (Chris) Griffith is a native Detroiter with over forty years of professional experience in social work, vocational training and health and human services management. Her Detroit roots run deep as a proud graduate of Cass Technical High School, Wayne County Community College and Wayne State University.

Chris was employed by the City of Detroit for twenty years, where she was personally commended by Mayor Coleman A. Young and Detroit City Council for proven success in preparing former drug abusers for vocational training and employment.

Chris has a lifetime history of advocating for the citizens of Detroit. She remains active in community organizing and lending her voice to issues affecting Detroiters through her affiliation with “Free Detroit, no Consent” and her leadership as a founding member of WTPD.

Julia Cuneo
Youth Coordinator
Julia Cuneo is a Detroit grown community organizer and activist. She graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 2015 and immediately devoted herself full time to radical grassroots politics. Julia directs the youth program at We the People of Detroit - developing a curriculum that centers young people as change agents in the present, not tools to shape for the future. Her proudest moments are when young people tell her, "No, let's do it this way instead."