Patty Stonefish, of Arming Sisters, asked me to create flyers for the #WeWontForgetMMIW*, a campaign that brings a timeless ritualized gesture into today’s social media. I have had the privilege of working with her for almost two years now and her commitment to the rights of indigenous North American women is a permanent source of inspiration.
Not everybody in jail is a murderer or a child molester or rapist. People forget that and use that irrationality to demonize and dehumanize people in jail. This helps them not feel sympathy for anything that may happen to prisoners and this helps deny them basic human rights (medical attention, safety, clean food and water). People matter, even the ones in prison. - Ty
Oily black liquid is coming out of residential faucets in the rural Texas town of Crystal City, and no one is sure who to alert. That’s because twelve days ago, the FBI arrested all but one the top elected officials in town for their involvement in an illegal gambling ring and immigrant smuggling.
I’m reposting this story in it’s entirety because the situation is getting dire and no one’s helping.
[Top] Gina Reynolds, a University of Michigan Flint student majoring in social work, chants “clean water is a human right,” at cars passing by during a small protest Jan. 13
[Bottom] People bring water from their taps to show city officials at city meeting, Jan. 21
I made a post earlier about my city of Flint, Michigan’s water situation and I wanted to share this because our drinking water is literally making people and pets ill. I don’t want people to ignore this, I NEED people to know what’s going on here.
LeeAnne Walters, 36, of Flint shows water samples from her home to Flint emergency manager Jerry Ambrose on Wednesday after city and state officials spoke during a forum that addressed growing health concerns about the drinking water.
In a city where residents have felt under siege for years — from crime, bad press and an emergency manager some feel forced upon them — the newest threat pours from kitchen spigots and showerheads.
It’s the reason behind mysterious rashes on local children, parents say. Unexplained illnesses. Even sick pets.
Bethany Hazard said it’s the reason for the brown rust circles that began appearing just months ago around her drains and the oily film in her bathwater in her longtime east-side home.
On the west side of Flint, Corodon Maynard said it’s the reason he was bent retching violently over the toilet this month — just hours after chugging two glasses of water at bedtime.
“I was throwing up like bleach water. It came up through my nose burning,” said the 20-year-old.
The water from the city system is so corrosive, according to General Motors officials, that the automaker’s Flint Engine Operations pulled off the city water system, connecting instead into a water system operated by nearby Flint Township.
Adam Mays, an artist and Flint resident, protests the condition of the Flint water system at Fifth and Saginaw in Downtown Flint, Michigan, with a few handfuls of other protestors, Tuesday afternoon, January 13, 2015.
So what’s in Flint’s water and just how dangerous is it?
It depends on who you ask and what tests you’re referring to.
State tests suggest the water is clear of coliform bacteria, which can suggest the presence of other disease-carrying pathogens.
But as a result of treating the water to kill any dangerous microorganisms, the water now carries low levels of Total Trihalomethane, or TTHM, a by-product of the disinfectants. Years of exposure may cause liver, kidney or central nervous system problems and an increased risk of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The city maintains the water — pulled from the Flint River rather than the Detroit water system that had served the city for years —is safe.
Mayor Dayne Walling who was born and raised in Flint, said he drinks it.
The river, long known for the toxins left from Flint’s industrial years, is cleaner than it has been in years, “but that perception persists,” Walling said.
Flint resident Gladyes Williamson-Bunnell asks officials addressing issues with the water quality if they would drink some of the Flint water she held up in a gallon jug during the water meeting on Wednesday evening, Jan. 21, 2015, at the Flint City Hall dome in downtown Flint.
“I’ve taken to calling it ‘poop water,’ ” said Nayyirah Shariff, a community activist for the grassroots group Democracy Defense League.
Many said they are ready to abandon longtime homes.
“What we have is a full-blown crisis,” said GM retiree Claire McClinton who had bundled up against the snow earlier this week to run into El Potrero Mexican restaurant for a late lunch.
But she reconsidered at the last minute and walked out instead, worried about eating at restaurants that rely on city water in their kitchens.
She’s not the only customer who is concerned.
Business overall has been hit “probably 20 to 30%,” said manager Jorge Alcazar.
The restaurant’s lifeblood is in customers seeking a quick, affordable lunch, often with a glass of ice water.
Unwilling to drink the tap water, customers also don’t want to pay $2 or more for a pop or buy a bottled water.
Worse for waitress Ashley Trujillo, customers have argued with staff. One customer left three pennies as a tip after fuming about having to pay for water. Others have left nothing.
“Like we have something to do with it,” Trujillo said.
All of this — the frustration, the slump in El Potrero’s business, the jam-packed meetings with residents toting jugs of brown water and claims they are being poisoned — are the latest blows to a city that has felt swatted around for too long.
“People think all the crime happens in Flint and everyone is poor in Flint, so there’s this stigma. Now we’re fighting against dirty water. Really?” said radiology coder Cindy Marshall, who joined about two dozen protesters earlier this week.
“Are you trying to kill us?” read one sign. “No more poison,” read another.
McClinton echoed Marshall’s sentiments: “We’ve lost confidence in the city.”
A protestor holds a sign out for cars to see during the protest of the conditions of the Flint water system at Fifth and Saginaw in Downtown Flint, Michigan, Tuesday afternoon, January 13, 2015.
For years, residents in this city bleeding jobs and soaked in red ink have been facing growing water bills. Some have climbed as high as several hundred dollars a month.
“We have residents choosing between water and groceries and other bills,” said Hazard, whose own bill is about $100 a month for a single person.
“I feel like I’m going under,” said Hazard, who survived cancer twice and who was forced into early retirement and limited income.
The city eventually decided to dump the Detroit system in favor of the Karegnondi Water Authority, which is building a system to supply Genesee County with water pulled from Lake Huron. In the long run, this will mean lower water costs, officials have said.
Under the plan, Flint is temporarily pulling water from the Flint River until the water authority’s system comes online, expected in 2016.
In August and September, however, the city issued three advisories to boil the water after detecting coliform bacteria.
Just before Christmas, residents received notices that state tests indicated higher-than-acceptable levels of trihalomethane, the disinfectant by-product.
Hazard’s cats have been sick. So has she and several neighbors. Even her houseplant began to die.
Maynard threw up. Residents complained of rashes and mysterious illnesses.
“We just want safe water. How hard is that?” Hazard asked.
But assurances come with qualifiers.
The chlorine did its job and cleaned the water of microbial pathogens that can cause disease within days. That means the water is safe for healthy people to drink for a short time, said Michael Prysby, a district engineer in the state’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance.
But the trade-off was TTMH — possibly a danger for the very young, the very old, or the very sick if they ingest it long-term, he added.
People with prolonged exposure to TTMH may experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system and have an increased risk of getting cancer.
“But we’re talking decades,” he said, adding that those who are worried should talk to their doctors.
“We don’t want to make a blanket statement to say water is safe or unsafe. It’s misleading both ways.”
That’s the kind of answer that infuriates Marshall, the protester and mother of a 5-year-old.
“They said it’s safe, but it’s brown water,” said Marshall, also a radiology coder, after the meeting. “Why do we have to drink brown water? No one else has to drink brown water.”
So, it's been about 9 months and the water has not gotten any better. As a matter of fact, it’s worse now. Here’s a picture taken just a few hours ago.
From the Facebook post associated with this picture “This fire hydrant in Flint, Michigan has been “flushing” for over 5-hours… after 5-hours, that’s not flushing… that is the water quality in Flint. ”
Fire hydrants carry CLEAN, TREATED water. This is our “clean and treated water”. This is the water that we have to drink.
And that’s not all. Water tests have been conducted in the last few days and in every district they checked, the amount of sites with over 15ppb of lead in the water has either gone up or stayed the same. You can see the results here at http://flintwaterstudy.org
Update for September 24th, 2015
Flint mayor Dayne Walling is letting his people be poisoned and is continuing to deny it.
The lead content in Flint children’s blood has spiked in the past year.
In perhaps the most dramatic proof yet of the toxic impact of Flint’s decision to draw municipal water from the Flint River, a new study released today shows that the amount of lead found in the bloodstream of Flint children increased dramatically following the switch from the Detroit water system in 2014.
The results — which are based on blood samples drawn from 1,746 children ages 5 and younger — were even more frightening in Flint neighborhoods where Virginia Tech researchers testing water from nearly 300 homes found the highest levels of lead in the city’s water. Analysis of blood samples from children living in those same high-risk areas showed that the number of kids with elevated levels of lead in their blood jumped from 2.5 percent to 6.3 percent.
The following statement was released by Congressman Dan Kildee earlier today:
“This new study showing elevated blood lead levels among Flint’s children is very troubling. People have the right to have confidence that their drinking water is safe.
Immediate action needs to be taken by the State of Michigan to ensure that relief is provided to people who are concerned about lead levels in their water. Today as part of my ongoing efforts, I talked with the EPA Region 5 Administrator about the State of Michigan providing emergency assistance, including lead-clearing filters and bottled water, until a more permanent solution can be determined.
This new study by the medical community also raises additional doubts about prior water testing done by the DEQ and EPA that stated the water was in compliance with federal law. I have been completely unsatisfied with their answers to my questions regarding their testing methodology, which is why I have called for additional immediate independent and scientific testing to be done.”
It is just unconscionable that this could be allowed to happen and all I hear in national news outlets is about well off folks some billionaires trying to gain more power.
Clean water is a basic human right! It’s a damn shame some go without. #Hate it!
FLINT, MICHIGAN — Pastor Bobby Jackson has been handing out bottled water to his homeless and low-income neighbors through his homeless shelter Mission of Hope for more than a year. Before the city’s lead poisoning scandal became national news and the camera crews rolled into town to document the crisis, the 67-year-old Flint native was distributing bottles of water to anyone who asked.
Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to water September 29, 2014
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.
Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.
“There is no such right or law,” Rhodes said.
A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.
“The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues,” the judge said.
Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.
Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”
Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.
“We will be looking at an appeal,” Jennings said. “We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water.”
The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.
The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”
About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.
Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.
Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.
During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.
Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.
Tom O'Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.
“It was developed,” he said, and “was intended to be practical.”
O'Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.
“That’s significant money, it goes a long way,” he said.
Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.
The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.
Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.
Nestlé backed up that statement with this ruthless move at the World Water Forum.
Across the globe, Nestlé is pushing to privatize and control public water resources.
Nestlé’s Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck, has explained his philosophy with “The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.”
Since that quote has gotten widespread attention, Brabeck has backtracked, but his company has not. Around the world, Nestlé is bullying communities into giving up control of their water. It’s time we took a stand for public water sources.
Tell Nestlé that we have a right to water. Stop locking up our resources!
At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water from being declared a universal right – declaring open hunting season on our local water resources by the multinational corporations looking to control them. For Nestlé, this means billions of dollars in profits. For us, it means paying up to 2,000 percent more for drinking water because it comes from a plastic bottle.
Now, in countries around the world, Nestlé is promoting bottled water as a status symbol. As it pumps out fresh water at high volume, water tables lower and local wells become degraded. Safe water becomes a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.
In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something we pump out by billions of gallons to fuel short-term private profits. Nestlé thinks our opinion is “extreme”, but we have to make a stand for public resources. Please join us today in telling Nestlé that it’s not “extreme” to treat water like a public right.
Tell Nestlé to start treating water like a public right, not a source for private profits!
Nestlé CEO has said that water is not a human right and the company has continued to guzzle water resources in water-poor communities around the world, including California, which is experiencing its most severe drought in history.
Here is a list of Nestlé products. BOYCOTT NESTLÉ, especially their drinks - they’re stealing water from people in need and from environments that cannot support their corporate greed.
PLEASE REBLOG THIS. SIOUX NATIVES ARE BEING ATTACKED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
Since the media is fucking garabge and isn’t reporting on this I will. Earlier today the Sioux tribe (the natives protesting the pipeline in north dakota) were literally attacked by the government. They blocked off any live stream being recorded online, and have been confiscating phones and erasing videos. They being the police and whoever is responsible for cutting off the live streams. Today they dropped tear gas from planes on PEACEFUL protesters that were collectivly PRAYING together in an attempt to protect their WATER. A basic human right. They put chemicals in the water (from what I read on twitter, I’m not sure if this is true feel free to fact check), they’ve arrested over 21 people, and have been surrounding the protesters (who are unarmed) with weapons, not allowing anyone to come or leave the protesting site, and the media is being COMPLETELY silent about this. This is happening to men, woman, and children. Please if you are going to reblog anything please allow it to be this.This is outrageous and needs to stop. It is up to us to stand up and say something since the media and government are trying to silence the people. We need to speak for those who can’t!!! The natives have suffered long enough, and this needs to end!!!!
Apartheid in Detroit: Water for corporations, not people June 18, 2014
Biill and Hillary Clinton were up to their ears in more than $10 million worth of legal debt at the end of Clinton’s tenure as president. Donald Trump was bailed out of four bankruptcies. But Detroit residents are having a basic human right – the access to water – cancelled for being late on bills of $150.
In the spring, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr ordered water shutoffs for 150,000 Detroit residents late on their bills. Orr is an unelected bureaucrat accountable only to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who appointed Orr and several other “emergency managers” in largely poor, black communities like Detroit, Benton Harbor, Flint, and Highland Park, to make all financial decisions on behalf of local elected governments.
Orr’s plan will shut off water for 1,500 to 3,000 Detroit residents each week. Neither Orr nor Homrich, the contracting company Orr hired to shut off residents’ water, answered calls for interview requests.
Detroit citizens have been protesting the decision on the basis that water is a human right that cannot be denied to families who need it for cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Many residents facing water shutoffs are currently on monthly payment plans with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), paying upwards of $160 per month as water rates continue to rise, and were given no prior notice that their water was about to be cut off. Last week, the Detroit City Council held a public hearing to discuss a proposed 4 percent hike in water rates.
“The families I’ve talked to in my neighborhood and others around the city are confused about why they’re being hit (in this way),” community activist Russ Bellant told the Michigan Citizen. “Some knew they were behind, but thought they’d have time to pay it. These are people who mow the lawn on the vacant lots next door (to them).”
As the Michigan Citizen reported, residents with delinquent water bills are losing their water while prominent Detroit corporations with much larger delinquent water bills are being left alone. The Palmer Park Golf Club owes $200,000. Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings, owes DWSD $80,000. Ford Field owes $55,000. Kevyn Orr is arguing that the shutoffs are necessary to pay for the DWSD infrastructure – yet when Detroit raised $1 billion in bonds to pay for new infrastructure, $537 million of it went to banks like JPMorgan Chase, UBS and Morgan Stanley to pay off interest instead.
Community activists are placing blame on the structural, institutionalized poverty in Detroit that forces the people to foot the bill for corporate mismanagement. Detroit’s bankruptcy and urban blight is a direct result of the housing bubble that burst, putting over 60,000 homes in foreclosure and rendering thousands of families homeless.
Dan Gilbert, the billionaire owner of Quicken Loans who is financing much of the gentrified development of downtown Detroit, has been particularly blamed for his company’s role in exacerbating the foreclosure crisis through its intimidation of homeowners, pressuring them into risky subprime lending schemes.
“Instead of going after the corporate institutions who owe millions, they’d rather turn off the water for poor people,” said Demeeko Williams, an organizer with Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management.
To fight back, Williams and other community activist groups like Moratorium NOW! and the Detroit After Party are teaming up to create theDetroit Water Brigade, a mutual aid effort aimed at providing residents with water and stopping water shutoffs with nonviolent direct action. The Detroit Water Brigade has set up a bridal registry on Amazon.com inviting those interested to help purchase necessary supplies like water coolers, cases of bottled water, heavy-duty contractor bags, and orange safety vests.
Some of the more radical direct actions being promoted by the Detroit Water Brigade include distributing flyers instructing people on how to turn their own water back on after it’s been shut off, and how to pre-emptively stop contractors from shutting water for their home. The flyer reads:
“Step 1: If your water is off, have the neighborhood water person or a friend (not you) obtain a water key and turn it back on 1st. (If you expect your water to be turned off, go to step 2.)
“Step 2: Purchase ready mix cement from the hardware [store].
“Step 3: Fill lockbox pipe ¾ths full with dry cement mix.
“Step 4: Add water to top off. Don’t use rocks because rocks can be sucked out.”
The Detroit Water Brigade is also meeting regularly to train interested residents in nonviolent civil disobedience. Residents are planning to form human chains putting themselves between water lockboxes and contractors hired to shut off water. The water brigade is counting on Detroit’s understaffed police department to not have the resources to arrest and jail everyone participating in the water shutoff demonstrations.
In response to sustained protests from Detroit residents, the DWSD has removed the “Water Shut Off” decals from its trucks.