Groups around the country are imagining a day without water today, as part of a national campaign. Among them: the Flint Strong Stones, a coalition of groups in Flint and Detroit, Mich.
As they met Thursday in Flint, We the People of Detroit president Monica Lewis-Patrick said, “People in Flint, people in Detroit, we don’t have to imagine a day without water.” Due to the Flint water crisis and water shutoffs in Detroit, a day without water is a reality for some.
Speakers at the event at the Berston Field House discussed the continuing crisis in Flint, where drinking water has been contaminated with lead. But they also celebrated the citizens and activists battling the state government, which has been criticized for its response to the public health crisis. Some Michigan officials are facing criminal charges for their role in the crisis.
Whitney Frierson, a youth leader in Flint, spoke about her personal experiences in the city.
“Think about being tested and treated like a lab rat,” she said. “That’s how I felt.”
Juani Olivares, president of the Genesee County Hispanic and Latino Collective, said there are still families struggling in Flint’s Latino community. Some community members are dealing with inaccurate translations, as well as a wariness to go to shelters or food banks for fear of being discovered as undocumented, she said.
For Lewis-Patrick, the meeting was a “visual demonstration of solidarity” between groups in Flint and Detroit -- all working for safe, clean, affordable water.