I follow @KristyT on Twitter and she let me know about a project that she created with @tiffani (#DetroitWater) to help Detroit residents with their water costs. Their website is detroitwaterproject.org and there you can confidentially donate to cover a person’s bill.
Detroit has the highest percentage of Black residents compared to any other major U.S. city, and as I wrote about in Black In The 99%, race is most certainly forever intertwined with class and poverty; these cannot be extracted from each other, especially in a country where its very financial system and imperialistic power would not exist without enslavement and genocide. There is no way to extract the economic violence being committed upon Detroit residents from racial histories.
According to RH Reality Check, "in Detroit, the cost of water is nearly twice the national average, and approximately half of the city’s customers owe outstanding balances on their water bills. But let’s situate this against a broader historical and sociopolitical backdrop. By 2011, half of Detroit’s working-age population was unemployed, and only 27 percent had full-time work. Nearly one in five Detroit residents were below the poverty line. Approximately three in five children were living in households headed by single mothers (see Rose Brewer’s article on the prison industrial complex). Moreover, these statistics are significantly worse for the city’s Black and Latino residents.”
People simply cannot go without water and while this entire situation is larger than just “unpaid bills” but are acts of violence against these residents amidst larger economic and racial disenfranchisement, with the recent 15 day suspension on the human-made drought, hopefully no other excuses can be used to harm these people if they’re able to pay the bills. This isn’t about lack of “personal responsibility” creating negligence over a “luxury” but about systemic poverty, capitalism, privatization and WATER.
Again, if you want to support Detroit residents through a confidential donation via this fundraiser created by two thoughtful Black women, visit: detroitwaterproject.org.