From Dublin to Detroit: Water is a Human Right
Community activists, faith leaders and families without water to march November 1st through downtown Detroit
AtPeace Makita, Spokeswoman, Detroit Water Brigade
Demeeko Williams, Political Director, Detroit Water Brigade
DETROIT — Detroiters will march in solidarity with the people of Ireland against water charges and the privatization of our public water systems on November 1st, at 9:30am at the Spirit of Detroit statue. The march is part of a coordinated Ireland-wide day of local demonstrations in dozens of cities in the follow-up to an October 11th march on Dublin that numbered over 100,000 citizens.
“From Dublin to Detroit, water is a human right and we are standing up to protect our neighbors and friends from the city’s aggressive shutoff program on the poor. The time for inaction has ended: Detroit demands an end to the shutoffs and an income-based Water Affordability Plan for all,” said Demeeko Williams, political director of the Detroit Water Brigade.
The City of Detroit paused the shutoffs after escalating public pressure and a United Nations condemnation in July, 2014, but have since restarted shutoffs and are turning off water to hundreds of families each day for non-payment. This past weekend, two U.N. rapporteurs from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Detroit on a fact-finding mission to assess the impact of the ongoing program.
In Ireland, citizens have responded to the government’s plan to begin installing water meters and charging residents for usage with widespread disapproval and protest. The government has attempted to enact reforms to privatize the water system through the incorporation of Irish Water, a “semi-state company” under the Water Services Act 2013, that aims to take over responsibilities from 34 Local Authorities in 2014. Currently funded by progressive taxation, Irish Water intends to institute domestic water charges but has faced angry residents who have routinely blocked the installation of water meters.
“A better world is possible,” said Detroit Water Brigade spokeswoman AtPeace Makita. “We want to meet the people who will be the change we wish to see in the world.”
The march will conclude with a community gathering, the 1st Annual Avalon Apple Orchard, at Jakobi RA Park in Highland Park, from Noon to 6pm on November 1st.
The Detroit Water Brigade is a volunteer-led alliance of compassionate citizens of Detroit and their international allies working to bring emergency relief to families facing water shut offs while advocating for an income-based Water Affordability Plan in Detroit. Learn more at http://detroitwaterbrigade.org