Monday, July 14, 2014 – a message from Pamela Sparr
Associate Director for Advocacy, Activism, and Engagement, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Two weeks ago, we launched a petition protesting Detroit water shutoffs. More than 4,000 people have already signed. Join us! Sign the petition today.  

Our goal is to have a total of 5,000 signatures by the end of day Thursday, July 10. We will be delivering these signatures to Detroit’s mayor, Water and Sewerage Department director, and emergency manager soon thereafter.

The mass water shutoffs in Detroit, Mich., are making news around the world. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has reported shutting off water to over 11,000 households in the past two months.

Families with infants and children, people living with disabilities or chronic illness, and the elderly will be hurt most by these shutoffs. Their health is at risk without adequate water and sanitation. Child Protective Services must, by law, move to protect children in homes without adequate water and sanitation — children may be taken from their parents and put into foster care.

Water is not a luxury good. It is a basic human right due to all people, including low-income individuals and families. People need water for drinking, bathing, and even flushing the toilet!

Sign the petition, which asks Detroit’s emergency manager and water utility director to stop the water shutoffs. You can make a difference in protecting residents of this great city and defending the human right to water.

As Rev. Peggy Clarke, Minister, First Unitarian Society, Hastings on Hudson, NY, said in a message to the Ethical Eating Network: “Equal access to food and water that’s good clean and fair. That’s one of the four principles of food justice and it’s being violated in Detroit . . . This humanitarian crisis, right here in the US, is easily resolved.  We need to let the Powers That Be in Detroit know that the world is watching.”

Christopher Sims, UU poet extraordinaire, shares his thoughts:

The Detroit Water Crisis – A Poem by Christopher D. Sims

Who would be considered the nicest,
After shutting off people’s water
causing a crisis?

Using the devices of power
Hour after hour
To sour the living conditions
of so many.

Three-thousand households a week
are facing shutoffs. Can you imagine
how much those bills cost?!

Babies need water.

Children need water.

Youth need water.

Adults need water.

But it’s money over people.

This is a Human Rights issue.

And if this continues imagine
how many lives will be affected.
I’ve heard that gentrification is
connected to these shutoffs.

So it’s about money and land.
Resources changing from hand
to hand. An American pastime
That many poor and people of
color can understand.

Water is in demand.

But shutting it off in
Detroit is their plan.

© Christopher D. Sims
July 8, 2014