Community Leaders Call on Detroit Bankruptcy Judge to End Water Shut-offs

New campaign launched to ‘Occupy the Bankruptcy’ with sustained campaign of peaceful direct action.

Media Contacts:
AtPeace Makita, Spokeswoman, (313)-279-0608

Demeeko Williams, Political Director, (313)-279-0608

DETROIT –– Community Leaders, activists, and residents directly affected by shutoffs will rally at the Federal Bankruptcy Court on Monday, September 22 at 8:30 a.m, 231 West Lafayette Street, Detroit, MI 48226, to demand an end to the city’s destructive water shutoff program and the immediate implementation of an income-based Water Affordability Plan. Speakers will include leaders from the Detroit Water Brigade and other community organizations, a local pastor, and residents currently without water.

The rally comes at the beginning of trial hearings in a class-action lawsuit, Lyda v. City of Detroit, before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes. The lawsuit and community groups call on the Judge to impose a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the department until a suitable plan is in place to ensure that all Detroiters can afford access to clean water. Judge Rhodes, who initially hesitated to take the issue under his jurisdiction, has recently said the issue is “affecting this bankruptcy” and has sharply questioned the water department’s director on the department’s borrowing practices.

“It is undeniable that access to clean water and sanitation is an essential necessity of life and today Detroit is standing up to demand it! If we don’t control the spickett democratically, then we’re all in danger of losing our right to water.”, said Atpeace Makita , spokeswoman for the Detroit Water Brigade.

Water rates in Detroit have increased dramatically over the last decade, to nearly twice the national average, due to declining population and interna department mismanagement and corruption. Former Detroit Water Director Victor Mercado, is currently serving an 8-month jail term for federal corruption charges.

“It is everyone’s God-given right to have water. We need to do something about this situation becauase no one should ever be without what God has given us freely to survive on”, said Pastor Ray Anderson from the House of Help Community Center in Detroit, which is also facing water shutoff and eviction after renovating and revitalizing a former DPS school building.

The Brigade will also announce a second, escalating citywide campaign of peaceful direct action to protect Detroit residents from shutoffs.

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