Forum on Community, Culture & Race | Artists Speak: Water is Life

Make sure to check out the “Artists Speak: Water is Life” forum during the Concert of Colors. A panel of local, national, and international water warriors will present on this globally important issue. We the People of Detroit will also have displays of our “mapping the water crisis” project – officially debuting in August. Join us for this exciting event on July 14th from 6:30-8:30. RSVP is required, tickets are free.


Water & Our Region Dialogue

unnamed.jpgOn July 21st from 8:oo-10:00 AM We the People of Detroit co-founder Monica Lewis-Patrick will be joining the Detroit Orientation Institute for their Detroit Dialogue event on “Water & Our Region.” To learn more or to register click here.

“This two-hour conversation over breakfast will focus on our region’s water systems and explore how policy, politics and scientific research affect our greatest natural asset in the Great Lakes region and the impacts on human and environmental health in our communities.”


School Supplies Needed

Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management in partnership with the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools movement are seeking school supplies. They’re in need of paper, writing utensils, and art supplies for use in engaging, inspirational, and student centered classrooms. Please help support this budding movement for equitable education by donating on June 20th, 6:00-8:00 PM, at the Dexter Elmhurst Center (11825 Dexter).


Water Warrior Val Burris Wins Award

From the Friends of the Rouge Facebook page:

“River Restoration Program Manager, Cyndi Ross, presented the 2015 Best Friend of the Rouge Award for Valerie Burris to Valerie’s husband, Bruce Burris, and neighbor and fellow rain-garden recipient, Gloria Patterson. Valerie was unable to make the award ceremony at our Annual Membership Meeting, but was well-represented by her dedicated “team”!

More information about the award:

The very first rain garden FOTR installed in Detroit was at the home of Valerie Burris in 2011. After learning about CSOs and stormwater pollution Valerie became a champion for protecting water quality and worked hard to educate others in her community. The following year, FOTR and the Sierra Club installed six additional rain gardens on Valerie’s “block”. The success of these gardens, along with the growing awareness and excitement, led to the Growing Sustainable Water Solutions Project funded by the Erb Family Foundation. The project includes the three-year Rain Gardens to the Rescue program that will result in the installation of 48 rain gardens and hundreds of downspout disconnections in the city of Detroit.

Valerie can be credited with much of the success of the program.
She inspires others as she shares her knowledge and experience at the training workshops.

Congratulations Valerie!”

Ford Foundation on Flint

Last week the Ford Foundation shared some key insights from the Flint water crisis. They say:

“We’ve explained before that the Flint water crisis is about more than poisoned water. It highlights inequalities rooted in race and class, and tied to issues including education, healthcare, government accountability, and the environment.”

To read more visit the Ford Foundation website.

Lindsay Airey on the “Persistent Widow”

We the People of Detroit’s Lindsay Airey reflects on the Persistent Widow from the bible in Luke 18:2-5 and water warrior Valerie Jean.

“And thank God for Valerie Jean. Mother of four who has resisted her own water shutoff so many times I’ve lost count. The scarlet letter of the blue line of water shutoff fires her up all the more to get her neighborhood organized to resist this campaign of covert, PR-glossed genocide on poor, black and brown.”

Read more here.

Water Warriors on Sojourners

We the People of Detroit founders Monica Lewis-Patrick and Debra Taylor were profiled by Martina Guzmán in Sojourners this week. Read the full story at

“Long before national outlets covered water shutoffs in Detroit or toxic water in Flint, Monica Lewis-Patrick, Debra Taylor, Nayyirah Shariff, and Claire McClinton were protesting, marching, and going door-to-door to inform citizens of the problem.

Their efforts helped inspire the first investigative reporting on the crisis. Since then, these four women have become de facto leaders in a movement that went on to have massive implications for race, public health, and city governance in America today.”

“Thirsty in Detroit” in The Christian Century

This piece by Tommy Airey was featured in The Christian Century last week.

From the site of these sacred waters, where parishioners worship a God of overflowing grace, a deep theological conviction flows. The people of St. Peter’s know that water is a gift that underlies all creation. It is the lifeblood of the region and the planet, circulating as river and rain, the very emblem of the commons. It holds together every living thing as one. In the liturgy, the water of the baptismal font beckons a diverse community of Detroiters to wade into freedom, immersed in the cleansing waters of conversion. But the bottled water around the font is also a sobering reminder of the principalities and powers that are drying up the city and reshaping it in their own image.