Detroit human rights activists appeal for support to halt water shut-offs

At the closing ceremony of AMC2014, Detroit water rights activist Lila Cabbil called on AMC attendees to "wage love" for a just water system in Detroit. She invited us to use our media-making and our networks to help bring an end to the tens of thousands of water shutoffs taking place throughout the city.

Ms. Cabbil was echoing the call of Charity Hicks, another Detroit human rights leader in the fight against water shutoffs, who at the time was in a coma after a hit-and-run accident in New York City. Last week, Charity passed away, leaving a devastating hole in many Detroit communities. Our hearts go out to her family, to her vast network of friends and fellow organizers, and the East Michigan Environmental Action Council, where she worked as Policy Director. Contributions towards her funeral services and family bereavement fund can be made here.

You can support the ongoing efforts of the Peoples' Water Board, of which Charity was a leading member, by taking any of the following actions:


If you are in Detroit, the Peoples Water Board is seeking volunteers who can staff the relief hotline and community watering stations, as well as do door-to-door canvassing to talk with people about their water issues and connect them with resources. Call 1-844-42-WATER to volunteer.


Click here to make a donation to the Peoples' Water Board, via member organization the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. Please note that the donation is for "Peoples’ Water Board" in the designation line. Donations will be used to pay for phone service and space rental for the water hotline; supplies for the community watering stations (large tanks, food-grade water hoses, solar showers, photocopying of leaflets).

Spread the word

Help spread the word about the water crisis and the organizing being done to address it, by circulating the media compiled below.

Detroit Water Shutoffs (video) by Kate Levy

Dire Situation in Detroit (video) from The Ed Show (MSNBC)

"Detroit Must Do What’s Right" Op-Ed by Maude Barlow, Lynna Kaucheck,Maureen Taylor and Melissa Damaschke. Detroit Free Press.

"A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit" Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier. The Progressive.

"Water Choices" by Shea Howell. The Michigan Citizen.

"Going Without Water in Detroit" by Anna Clark. New York Times.

"An Open Letter to the DWSD Mediators." The Blue Planet Project.

Letters from Congressman John Conyers to President Obama, HHS Secretary & Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept. Regarding Shutoffs

"Detroit: Disconnecting Water from People Who Cannot Pay – an Affront to Human Rights, UN Experts Say." United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

UN Human Rights Complaint filed by Maude Barlow, the People’s Water Board and Michigan Welfare Rights Organization.

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