CONGRATULATIONS, MONICA LEWIS-PATRICK!!
By Mike McGonigal
December 7, 2016
Today, something called the KIND Foundation, “through its KIND People Program, awarded a total of $1.1 million “to catalyze empathy and heal divides.” Six activist/healers have been awarded $100,000 and one (Doniece Sandoval) was given $500,000. These are straight-up gifts, as opposed to grants; recipients can do whatever they wish with the funds. Among the recipients? Our very own community activist Monica Lewis-Patrick, who we profiled in our “People” issue last year.
An excerpt from the profile in Metro Times:
Today, she fights for the rights of Detroiters to have access to water, even if they cannot afford to pay their bills. With the organization We the People of Detroit, she’s firing on all cylinders. Among other things, We the People manages a water rights hotline so people can get emergency assistance, and oversees four water stations that will even deliver water directly to those in need if they cannot make it to a station.
“I spoke in front of the U.N. in September, another tremendous honor,” she says. And are there more political plans in her future? “I really like being a free black woman if there’s such a thing in America, without someone else’s time clock or agenda,” Lewis-Patrick says.
The Lesson from Standing Rock: Organizing and Resistance Can Win
By Naomi Klein
December 6, 2016
“Everyone here is aware that the fight is not over. The company will challenge the decision. Trump will try to reverse it. “The legal path is not yet clear, and the need to put financial pressure on the banks invested in the pipeline is more crucial than ever,” says Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attorney and member (and a recent congressional candidate).
Nor does today’s victory erase the need for justice and restitution for the string of shocking human-rights violations against the mainly Indigenous water protectors—the water cannons, the dog attacks, the hundreds arrested, the grave injuries inflicted by supposedly non-lethal weapons.
By Shea Howell
December 5, 2016
On December 4, 2017 the Obama administration announced the department of the Army will not approve the Dakota Access pipeline easement to cross Lake Oahe. They will seek another route.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe “wholeheartedly support the decision.” Dave Archambault II, the Sioux Tribal Chairman said, “Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.”
By Shea Howell
November 7, 2016
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was swamped this week with objections to its decision to allow Nestle Waters North America to increase its pumping of water from an underground aquifer. Nestle wants to more than double its current rate from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. This would amount to 210,240,000 gallons of water a year being sucked out and transported by truck to their Iron Mountain bottling plant. This bottled water is shipped throughout the midwest in little plastic bottles and sold for enormous profit.
In an article about Nestle’s unprecedented effort to get control of water supplies in Maine, Nathan Wellman concluded, “Nestlé is infamous for taking water from US communities for billions of dollars in profit and then dumping the environmental costs onto the rest of society. Environmental scientist Vandana Shiva has called its practices ‘the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth.’”
Neoliberalism’s Deadly Experiment
By Josiah Rector
October 21, 2016
“The interconnected water crises in Detroit and Flint demonstrate the massive human costs of destroying the public sector, which antidemocratic emergency manager laws have accelerated. The combination of risky financial deals and privatization is also increasing water rates and shutoffs in other cities. Although population decline and aging infrastructure partially explain water rate increases, neoliberal restructuring is at the heart of the problem. The decimation of the welfare state, which led to the removal of Michigan’s vendor pay program, have also made poor and working-class residents (disproportionately African Americans) more vulnerable to shutoffs.
Addressing this crisis will require a moratorium on residential water shutoffs, and implementing ambitious water affordability programs. The People’s Water Board and other organizations have pushed to get ten water affordability bills before the Michigan house. The People’s Water Board also deserves support.”
The Truth About Flint
By Rasheed Wallace
October 18, 2016
“Every time I go, I’m amazed by the people, but I’m sickened by the lack of help.
Don’t believe the hype that you hear about the water being fixed. That water’s not fixed. This shit ain’t over. Just because it isn’t being talked about doesn’t mean it’s over. Light still needs to be shone on this.
Just think of any other catastrophe that’s occurred in the U.S. There’s always been a government agency that’s come help.
What if this had happened in New York? You mean to tell me that the people of Flint — just because it wasn’t a natural disaster — can’t get no help? That’s ludicrous! The government just approved funding at the beginning of October, nearly two years after we learned that the water was fucked up. What took so long?
And that’s just a long-term fix — money for big-picture projects. It’s $170 million for a multibillion-dollar problem. It does nothing for the people who need clean water right now.
“…too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows…” – MLK Jr.
By Shea Howell
September 25, 2016
This week a parade of preachers swept into the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners. They were protesting drainage charges about to be levied across the city. Preachers called for a “moratorium on drainage charges.” They were “appalled” at the “ungodly” charges. They said they were “called to be here by God” to demand an answer to the question of “why should we have to pay for what comes from God?”
This was a sad display of what has become of our many of our local churches.
The obvious question is simply “Where have you been?” For more than two years, community organizations have been demanding a city-wide conversation to develop policies reflecting the basic understanding that water is a human right. All human beings should have access to safe, affordable water.
As the city zeroes in on graffiti, two Detroit artists face possible prison time
By Aaron Robertson
September 21, 2016
Cosme describes their case as “political theater.”
“There are all these rape kits that go untested in the city of Detroit, yet there’s money to chase graffiti artists,” he says. Cosme’s view of political theater is fundamental to what he calls “the new urbanism movement.” He sees similarities among cities like Detroit, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.
“They wouldn’t invest in Detroit and fix it up until black people lost control of it … Detroit was starved for capital very intentionally.”