I first came to know about the Detroit water shutoffs during a service trip while I was a student at Oberlin College. On the trip, I found myself at a town hall meeting in which United Nations special rapporteurs were investigating whether or not the shutoff campaign was a violation of human rights. Although I grew up a mere 25 minutes away, I had no idea that anything was wrong with anyone’s water in Detroit. Despite continuing to study the water crisis after my return to Oberlin, I had no sense of the scope of this issue until moving to Detroit after my graduation. I spent 6 months as a full-time volunteer with a grassroots community center on the West side of Detroit that functioned in part as a water distribution hub. Over those months, I spoke with dozens of people whose water had been shut off or was in danger of shutoff. It was a maddening experience to only be able to offer large jugs of water to people sitting in our organization’s meeting room who were ashamed at what they viewed as not being able to provide for their families, and terrified that Child Protective Services would take their children away if their waterless status was known. I was outraged, but didn’t feel that I had any grounding in what to do to address the crisis. It was not until I was approached by Detroit Jews for Justice organizers that I saw a way to jump into the fight. Over the last two months, I’ve been able to hold a coordinating role in DJJ’s water justice campaign, which has given me a way to live out my deeply held vision of a Detroit that cares about its citizens enough to guarantee them affordable and safe water.
Our forward motion on the water issue is not possible without the the resources that DJJ can marshall for organizing and programming, and the day-to-day work of our staff. Moving forward with this vision, however, is not possible without you. DJJ is an organization built off of the time, talent, and treasure of people like you and me. Please consider making a small donation to our campaign to ensure that DJJ continues to have the resources to do this important work. This is an opportunity for financial investment in these efforts, but if our water work has piqued your interest, please let me know so we can find a way for you to join the fight for water justice, as well -- firstname.lastname@example.org