Article featured in River Voices April 2017 issue.
Download the full River Voices, April 2017 issue – our article begins on page 7.
by Monica Lewis-Patrick, M.A.L.S.
President & CEO, We the People of Detroit
The Engaged Scholar Magazine at Michigan State University has posted an article about community-based water testing project we are currently collaborating on. We are currently seeking Detroiters without running water to participate in the water testing project in exchange for a $100 stipend and research involvement. To see if you qualify, call 313-451-2171
Eclectablog has published an article entitled “Detroit Joins Hundreds of Thousands to March for Climate Justice” by Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty, which mentions We the People of Detroit.
Yes! Magazine has mentioned our water deliveries in an article entitled “What Is It Like to Live Without Running Water? Detroit Families Know: A recent study predicts that in the next five years, more than one-third of Americans will not be able to afford their water.”
Rebecca L. Rutt and Jevgeniy Bluwstein, of the University of Copenhagen and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona’s Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) wrote a paper called “Quests for Justice and Mechanisms of Suppression in Flint, Michigan” using our Community Research Collective’s graphic entitled “Race and Municipal Emergency Management in Michigan”:
There is widespread acknowledgment of the crisis nature and injustices around water quality and access in
Flint since mid-2014. This crisis led to different forms of grassroots activism demanding political accountability,
transparency, and redress. However, residents’ experiences and their needs and demands in response to
the crisis have been largely ignored. This article explores the mechanisms of suppression at work in obscuring
these needs and demands. Specifically, it sheds light on the role of the public sector, the media, and the
academic institutions in reproducing these mechanisms of suppression. The article situates the struggles over
political accountability within the neoliberalization of public administration and government through emergency
management. Capital accumulation can continue and intensifies, whereas emergency management
further contributes to suppressing public dissent in the times of crisis via the erosion of political accountability.
By illuminating institutionalized mechanisms of suppression of residents’ needs and demands, we argue that
the Flint water crisis should also be seen as a crisis of government, journalism, and academia.
Keywords: environmental justice, neoliberalism, depoliticization, emergency management, resistance, Flint
Esperanza Cantu writes for authorityhealth.org on why water access in Detroit matters for public health:
As officials continue to grapple with how to receive payments from water customers, the Population Health Council continues to advocate for a water affordability plan as a long-term solution, and a moratorium to the populations listed above as exceptions based on public health.
To read more click here.
The following article was originally posted on We the People of Detroit co-founder Aurora Harris’ Detroit Parents with Special Needs blog.
For those who missed the incredible book launch for Mapping the Water Crisis here are some video links from the presentation! Thank you to Leona McElevene for capturing these moments.
|1/10 – (Approx. 1 minute) – Opening Song by The Flowtown Revue
|2/10 – (Approx. 2 minutes) – The Flowtown Revue, STOP Turning Water Off
|3/10 – (Approx. 2 minutes) – Hon. JoAnn Watson, We The People of Detroit Organizational Overview
|4/10 – (Approx. 6 minutes) – Debra Taylor, The Story of the Community Research Collective (CRC)
|5/10 – (Approx. 7 minutes) – Dr. Andrew Herscher, Map Overview
|6/10 – (Approx. 12 minutes) – Emily Kutil, Chart/Graphs Overview
|7/10 – (Approx. 6 minutes) – Nadia Gaber, Health Impact Study Update
|8/10 – (Approx. 30 minutes) – Dismantling of African-American Neighborhoods in Detroit – Q & A
|9/10 – (Approx. 7 minutes) – William Davis, President, DAREA; and J.T. Campbell, Arizona State Univ.
|10/10 – (Approx. 2 minutes) – Musical Performance by Next Generation Jazz Trio
The Mildred Gaddis show covered our release of “Mapping the Water Crisis.”
Thinking for ourselves
By Shea Howell
Separate and Unequal
August 14, 2016
This week the New York Times published yet another story about the reality of two separate and unequal Detroits. With the title “In Detroit’s 2-Speed Recovery, Downtown Roars and Neighborhoods Sputter,” Peter Applebome points to critical questions the Mayor and his administration would like to avoid.
After a brief sketch of downtown, Midtown and Corktown development, Applebome raises the question of what development means to neighborhoods. He says, “But what that means for the rest of the city and who is benefiting have set in motion a layered conversation about development, equity, race and class. It is playing out with particular force here in what was once the nation’s fourth-largest city and is now a place at once grappling with poverty, crime and failing schools, but also still animated by the bones of its former glory.”
This is a conversation the Mayor avoids. Yet even a transient observe like Applebome concludes, “The lack of progress is just as noticeable in the sprawl of often dilapidated neighborhoods, baking in the summer heat.”
Many are baking in that heat without water. No where is the lack of progress and the denial by the Mayor and his administration clearer than in the water shut off crisis. The day before the New York Times article appeared, a group of community based researchers issued an important report. Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African American Neighborhoods in Detroit: Volume 1 is the result of an18 month study documenting water shut offs in the city. The report demonstrates in clear and specific detail that neighborhoods are suffering from a combination of foreclosures and shut offs, diminishing the quality of life for everyone in the community. Last year 23,000 homes were shut off from water. Over the last decade the city has endured 110,000 foreclosures.
Underscoring the growing divide in our city, Monica Lewis-Patrick, a guiding force in the research collaborative, said, “There is a renaissance downtown full of newcomers, while they are shutting off water for those who stayed and paid” their bills for years.
The impact of these shut offs in a city where 40% of the people live in poverty and many are paying more than 10% of their income for water is to actively drive people out of their homes. Dr. Gloria House, Professor Emerita of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Wayne State University explained that the mapping documents that
“The incidents of shutoffs, foreclosures and school closures are not random, but intentional and specific… We believe it’s about the dismantling of neighborhoods.”
The Mayor continues to deny this reality. He refuses to consider the consequences of his policies in the lives of people in neighborhoods. Instead he chooses to pretend his water assistance plan (WRAP) is solving the problem. No one but the Mayor and his administration believes this. No one who sees the shut off trucks moving through neighborhoods on a daily basis believes this.
The objective statistics do not support this. The WRAP is a failure. It has a waiting list of 3,000 customers and the majority of people who have been signed up simply cannot keep up with the monthly payments.
The work of the We the People Detroit Community Research Collective documents in stark terms that our city is devolving into two separate, unequal, and unhealthy realities.
It does not have to be this way. Community activists and researchers have consistently advocated plans to make water available to all at affordable prices. They have developed programs to keep people in their homes and to stop foreclosures. The real choice we face is about whose lives matter in our city.