Online Resources

Articles/Papers/Study Guides

Detroit Fights For Fair Water Access
By Eleanor Greene, Green America, October 2017

‘We the People of  Detroit’ is fighting to ensure that Detroiters have fair, equitable, and uninterrupted access to clean water.

Toxic Town: Michigan’s Most Polluted Zip Code
Bill Kubota, One Detroit/Detroit Public Television for Great Lakes Now, June 19, 2017

Professor Paul Mohai of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment looked at air quality data in a part of Southwest Detroit, called 48217 for its zip code – predominately African American and surrounded by heavy industry. He found 48217 to be most toxic zip code in Michigan. The upside? 48217 is getting more attention in the neighborhood’s fight for environmental justice there.

Detroit Minds Dying
Kate Levy, 2015

An online clearinghouse for video and media about the water shutoffs

Detroit Is Ground Zero in the New Fight for Water Rights
Laura Gottesdiener, The Nation, July 15, 2015

“As many as 25,000 families are at risk of having their water shut off. These activists are fighting back.”

Repenting White Supremacy
Day House, On the Edge, Spring 2015

“This issue of On the Edge seeks to mourn our personal coping mechanisms, to turn our ear to the country’s continued white supremacy, and to give grief to our personal contributions to it.”

Water Issues and Local and Global Interconnections
By Elizabeth Walters, IHM

Detroit Water Affordability is a Regional Responsibility – A Fact Sheet
Detroit People’s Water Board, July 2015

“To fully understand the water shutoff crisis, it is important to know that this crisis did not develop in a vacuum. The Detroit water shutoffs are inextricably tied to larger forces seeking to reshape the city in an image that doesn’t include its poorest residents.”

Congressional Briefing: Trouble on Tap: Challenges to Affordable Water in the U.S. – The View From Detroit
By Alice B. Jennings, Esq. Edwards & Jennings, P.C., Feb. 26, 2015

This presentation was delivered at Congressional Hearing on Water Rights in Detroit.

The Detroit People’s Platform’s  Advocacy around the Detroit Tax Foreclosures
The Detroit People’s Platform, April 2015

Online Petition to Stop 100,000 Detroit Residents from Losing Their Homes
Right to City, March 2015

An online petition to the Wayne County Treasurer urging him to halt Detroit tax foreclosures

Hard Copy Petition to Stop 100,000 Detroit Residents from Losing Their Homes
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, March 2015

Sample letter to Elected Officials to Stop Tax Foreclosures
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, March 2015

Faith in Detroit – Press Release and Statement
Faith in Detroit, Feb. 22, 2015

Faith in Detroit is a gathering of women and men from Catholic Religious Communities who live and/or minister in the City of Detroit. They are committed to listening, participating and collaborating to effectively address the challenges facing the city.

International human rights network intervenes in case challenging large-scale disconnection of water supply to tens of thousands of low-income residents in Detroit
The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), Feb. 9, 2015

A global network of over 220 groups and 50 individual human rights advocates from around the world has requested to be recognized as amicus curiae in the case of Lyda et al. v. City of Detroit, in support of residents challenging the City of Detroit’s decision to cut off water supply to thousands of households unable to pay their bills.

Wall Street Pushed Bad Detroit mortgage loans
John Gallagher, The Detroit Free Press, Jan. 26, 2015

A potential class action against the investment firm Morgan Stanley alleges that the foreclosure crisis that devastated Detroit was engineered at the highest levels of Wall Street.

What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People?
Rose Hackman, The Atlantic, July 17, 2014

Some run dry—and others pay $30 for plumbers to illegally turn the taps back on.

Hammer: Leave Community Benefits to Communities
Peter Hammer, Detroit News, Dec. 11, 2014

Detroit’s Equitable Development Coalition is seeking economic development that will result in real community benefits for the citizens and businesses of the city.

Two Detroits, Separate and Unequal: A Journey Across a City Divided
Laura Gottesdiener, Tom Dispatch, Nov. 16,  2014

On the brink of a new, post-bankruptcy beginning, Detroit is really two cities. One is comprised of wealthy enclaves linked to a compact, rapidly redeveloping downtown. The other is made up of the rest of the 139-square-mile urban expanse, populated by longtime residents who have fought for decades to survive in an environment that has become increasingly uninhabitable.

Life Without Water
Circle of Blue, August 2014

A beautiful photo slideshow with neighborhood quotes and brief commentaries on the Detroit water struggle

Thousands March for Water Rights in Detroit
Ruth Conniff, PRWatch, July 19, 2014

Thousands of people marched through downtown Detroit to call attention to a major public health crisis as the city shuts off the water for residents who are behind on their bills.

Detroit People’s Platform Letter on Water Shut-Offs and Public Health
Detroit People’s Platform, July 2, 2014

The People’s Platform delivered this letter to the Public Health Officer for the City of Detroit on July 2, 2014.

‘Escalating Resistance’ in Detroit as Residents Block Water Shut-Offs
by Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, July 10, 2014

“The issue of whether water should be a commodity or part of the commons raises the question of what kind of future we want.”

UN to Detroit: Denial of Water to Thousands ‘Violates Human Rights’
Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, June 24, 2014

United Nations experts declared that the city of Detroit’s water shut-off  to thousands of residents who are unable to pay their bills “constitutes a violation of the human right to water.”

Submission to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Regarding Water Cut-offs in the City of Detroit, Michigan
The Blue Planet Project, June 18, 2014

The official report to the United Nations about access to water in Detroit

Groups Appeal to UN for ‘Humanity’ as Detroit Shuts Off Water to Thousands
By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, June 18, 2014

As thousands of people in Detroit go without water and the city moves to cut off services to tens of thousands more, concerned organizations have taken the unusual step of appealing to the United Nations to intervene and protect the “human right to water.”

Detroit’s Good Food Cure
Larry Gabriel, Yes! Magazine, Dec. 12, 2012

What happens when the Motor City transforms itself into the capital of grow-your-own food?

Web Links

The Blue Planet Project

The Blue Planet Project is part of a global movement for water justice based on the principles that water is a human right, a public trust and part of the global commons.

Michigan Welfare Rights Organization

The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization is the union of public assistance recipients and low-income workers in this state.

People’s Water Board

The People’s Water Board advocates for access, protection and conservation of water. They believe that water is a commons that should be held in the public trust,  free of privatization.

Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit

GLBD promotes collaboration and networking among Southeast Michigan individuals and organizations working on sustainability and eco-justice issues.

The James and Grace Lee Boggs Center

The Boggs Center nurtures the transformational leadership capacities of individuals and organizations committed to creating productive, sustainable, ecologically responsible and just communities – in Detroit and beyond.

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice

DWEJ is a coalition of community leaders, academia, environmentalists and others committed to helping Detroiters create an empowered community that can address environmental concerns and participate in decision-making.

Detroit Eviction Defense

Detroit Eviction Defense is a coalition of homeowners, union members, faith-based activists, community advocates and allied groups united in the struggle against foreclosure and eviction.

Detroit People’s Platform

The People’s Platform is a broad network of Detroit-based social justice organizations, activists and residents committed to bringing about just transformation in politics, economics and social dynamics.


Videos and Interactive Resources

VIDEO: Charles Hamilton Houston Peoples Lawyer Series
Charles H. Wright African American History Museum, June 11, 2016

This presentation gives a good background understanding of the housing foreclosures and the water shutoffs in Detroit. It will  help the viewer put it in historical context, connecting the dots with structural racism.

Detroit Minds Dying
Kate Levy, 2015

An online clearinghouse for video and media about the water shutoffs.

Drops in the Bucket
ACLU of Michigan, Aug. 5, 2015

In and around Detroit, tens of thousands of low-income residents are faced with the bleak prospect of having their water service terminated. “Drops in the Bucket,” a new video on the water crisis from the ACLU of Michigan, explores how the mayor’s attempted affordability fixes have fallen woefully short.

VIDEO: Detroit Water – Not FlowingU.N. TV – 21st Century, Jan. 21, 2015

This 15-minute video provides a concise explanation of the Detroit water crisis.