The Gospel of Water in Detroit: Why halting the shutoffs is a spiritual matter JAMES W. PERKINSON “I thirst”---Jesus on the cross, dying (John 19:28) This morning I linked arms with nine other Detroit residents and sat down in front of a Homrich Wrecking Inc. truck in an attempt to halt its daily routine of shutting off water to Detroit households that are more than $150 in arrears. I did so as part of my religious conviction and as a seminary professor. Indeed the group involved also included two pastors, a priest, and a retired religious sister among its determined crew. Not surprisingly, we were arrested and forcibly removed as some fifty other protestors filmed and chanted. Once carted away in three police cruisers, a stream of Homrich trucks filed out of the company lot on East Grand Blvd. to continue pulling in the $5.6 million offered in their two year contract to complete as many as 150,000 residential shutoffs by summer’s end. By any immediate calculus, the blockade would seem to have been a foolish aspiration. And to have little to do with the world of Spirit! But the Spirit is a strange creature—a lot like Water, as light as breath or mist, as strong as a hurricane. And also like water, it is an unmerited Gift. So let me explain.
most impoverished large city in the country as the 4th most well-to-do county in the U.S. And names that black metropolis an “Indian Reservation,” worthy only of being walled in and tossed blankets and corn! Within the larger compass of the State itself, a long history of takeover schemes (e.g., the Detroit Public School System when flush with bond money in the 1990s) has issued more recently in the entire apparatus of Emergency Management laws. The Education Achievement Authority has effectively plundered substantial property from the Detroit Public School System while the latter’s student base has
tradition, Jesus in 1st century Palestine faced a similar situation of manufactured emergency. His home country had long been colonized by powers imperial (first Persia, then Greece, and finally Rome). In his day, more and more small farmers were being ensnared in unfair debt, their lands “grabbed” up by wealthy landowners, their work opportunities downsized, their sons and daughters forced into menial jobs (like daylaboring) or illegal trades (like prostitution), their taxes raised (by both Rome and the Temple in Jerusalem), their elderly pushed into early graves. And surprise, surprise, for the story here—their water “privatized” and made subject to payment! Roman aqueducts were increasingly redirecting the living flows of the wadis and springs and the fish-rich depths of the Galilee Lake into lavish urban villas (like Tiberias), while taxing the rural populace for the costs of building such. It was precisely in confrontation of such a “pirating of water for private gain and pleasure” that Jesus’ Palestinian forerunner, John the Baptist, decided to position his own mission. Responding to a longstanding outcry of injustice, he took up a defiant post “astride” the Jordan, announcing a messiah-to-come who would offer “living water” and demand Jubilee release of debts!
But the Spirit is a strange creature— a lot like Water, as light as breath or mist, as strong as a hurricane.
THE CITY Detroit is now host city to a level of official disregard for its citizenry that has drawn international attention. The intensified crack-down on the part of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department since March has blanketed the city in misery. More than 17,000 residents are now without access to water and the number is rapidly escalating each day. It could climb to as much as one half of the households in the city before the cold comes. And this in an urban core strategically situated in a Great Lakes Basin containing 20% of the world’s fresh water supply. Activists manning a shutoff hotline and distributing emergency water to neighborhoods are discovering elderly who have been without the resource for as much as a year, homes with children who are now subject to being removed from their families by child welfare services, and patients with bandages who can no longer wash. As of June 25, the UN had named the shutoffs a human rights violation, while the head of the Blue Planet Project, Maude Barlow, lamented, “I haven’t seen anything like this in any so-called first world country anywhere in the world!” As a globe watches in alarm, Detroit writhes and thirsts. But this emergency is manufactured, not an act of God. More than half a century of white flight coupled with corporate de-industrialization and out-sourcing, has ringed the city with 86 independent municipalities, 47 townships, and 89 school systems in creating the most segregated turf in the country. Today after the financially manipulated housing crash of 2008, yielding the largest single instance of wealth-transfer out of communities of disadvantage into already affluent communities ever witnessed in our history, the metro region exists as a study in what might be called “extreme regionalization,” exacerbated by “extreme banking.” It is also a study in white racism. Oakland County pirouettes at the edge of the
been increasingly “charter-ized” to the advantage of Wall Street. And the operation of Emergency Manager Kevin Orr and his former Jones Day Law firm—likely to clear, with other legal consultants and players, in the range of $100 million before the bankruptcy smoke clears—continues to pick apart city assets and divvy them out to interests perched to profit mightily. In the last year, prime downtown real estate was given for $1 to a tax-delinquent and waterbill-owing Ilitch family for a new hockey arena for the family-owned Red Wings. Belle Isle has been offered State-ward at the expense of poor citizens of color who now find themselves routinely halted and interrogated by police if they dare venture over the bridge. The city itself has been mapped, neighborhood by neighborhood in a Detroit Future City project, for “redesign under a pen,” privileging the already flourishing and “triaging” the most torn up and beaten down. And just here the water shutoffs take on their most ominous import. The degree to which they serve an ultimate intention to privatize the department itself, clearing its books of bad debt to spice up its flavor for a hungry investor, will become clear only in hindsight. As will the suspicion that both foreclosures and tap closures effectively clear out unwanted denizens from spaces slated for a more middle class and white “re-make.” But it is hard not to “see” all of these developments together. In a century-to-come already labeled “the century of water wars,” Detroit is prime infrastructure—presiding over “the strait” linking world-class boundary waters, across which travels more commerce than any other international crossing in the country. And the juggernaut thus rolls on. While a city renowned (and maybe becoming notorious) for its churches almost as much as its cars, responds . . . how? What has religion to do with water in this situation of power and apocalypse? THE SPIRIT AND THE WATER As I read the texts of my own Christian
That very leader—once on the scene— would himself begin by going down “into” that wild riparian flow to “hatch” his own vision. Jesus emerges out of his Jordan baptism also hearing a cry, and labors to get clear on the movement he will lead. Its destination, after serious organizing of those who were suffering the most among his own (Galilean) region’s villages and neighborhoods, is a blockade of the very space in Jerusalem that had been commandeered by Rome into serving powerful interests at the expense of the poor. Jesus will take his own motley crew up into the Temple to lock it down for a day and convene a teach-in naming its operation as “thug central” (“den of thieves,” in most translations). Here too, it was triage in the name of privilege. “Those who had,” got more, and “those who had not,” lost what little they did have (as Jesus sharply lamented!). Commonly-shared gifts of creation like land and water were being unilaterally claimed and forcibly taken over for private use by elite cohorts. People disenfranchised in the process were stigmatized as “sinners” and turned away from institutional access (e.g., the Temple) unless they paid extra (via special tithes and sacrifices). The labels used for them impugned their right even to survive! And many did not survive. Acting to expose such a Roman takeover of the Temple in a brief symbolic “blockage” of the currency-exchange that made it all possible (clearing out the money-changers and pigeon sellers from the Temple precincts) would cost Jesus himself heavily. It would not halt the continuing exploitation. But it would launch a movement of the margina l whose recovery of dignity and vision in the face of continuing repression could not be silenced. Indeed, it would keep memory of such a possibility alive for another 2000 years, through all manner of compromise and cooptation. THE ACTION But today, in Detroit, the anguish of the hour throws up the question anew. Longtime water- and food-activist Charity Hicks sparked the resistance when she got out of bed early one morning in mid-May
to discover her own tap closed down and the Homrich truck sitting in front of her house. Barefoot and bold, she ran to wake neighbors so they might quickly cache water in bathtubs and wash basins and pots and pans. She also confronted the Wrecking Co. employee, demanding that he cease. When an ensuing altercation resulted in her foot being cut, she called the police. But they arrested her when they arrived, sneering that she “needed to be taught a lesson!” Effectively “disappeared” for two days in horrific conditions (blood and feces on the holding-cell floor she shared with others) in the State-run detention center set up a year earlier to better monitor Detroit police who might be sympathetic to Detroit residents, she began speaking out once released, calling for those who heard to “wage love” in this emerging war. Her voice galvanized the activist community. Tragically though, while traveling to a speaking engagement in New York on May 31, she was struck by a hit-and-run driver at a bus stop, and passed over to the ancestors on July 8 without ever recovering consciousness. But she speaks still. It is her spirit—fiercely defiant even when acting alone without organized support—that now haunts the Detroit movement like an ancestor untimely taken, demanding vindication for all those being daily assaulted now. Will those of us with some measure of hope and full bellies simply settle for business-asusual and our private TV pleasures while sipping wine after washing dishes? Or does a cry of thirst penetrate and enjoin response? Will we only respond if we are guaranteed success? Do we secretly muse, “Folk should pay their way . . . or pay the consequences” and ourselves refuse to ask more deeply, “Why do I have and ‘those people’ do not?” There is an answer to that question, and it does not leave any of us innocent. Thirst is a shared condition. And none of us created the water it craves. Whether heard or not, I decided I could no longer not speak. And chose the most strategic symbolic position I could imagine—acting in concert with others, at the point where the shutoffs translated into cold cash and corporate bottom line— literally where the rubber met the road as the trucks rumbled out from their lairs to begin the daily assault. The message was simple. Stop the shutoffs, restore service, and implement the water affordability plan from 2005. The shutoff implementation is outrageously immoral. There are thousands of Detroiters for all kinds of reasons beyond their control who cannot pay water bills that have been increased by 8.7 % in the recent past and more than 119 % over the last decade. Maintaining service and agreeing upon a sustainable plan both for on-going payment and for gradual elimination of arrearage will do more to stabilize the Department (and the city) than draconian cutoffs, designed, as we believe, to facilitate privatizing the department and re-making Detroit into a majority white enclave surrounded by black poverty. All of the research indicates privatization leads only to vastly increased bills. The vision of a city whose neighborhoods are culled of poor people of color by both foreclosures and now shutoffs is a city we do not believe in. We are pledged to do all that we can non-violently to resist this path and call on everyone concerned to join us in working out a more sustainable and just Detroit, inclusive of all of us. The cry of thirst grows loud. People, literally, are dying for want of water. How shall we respond?
Introduction LYDIA AND LUCIA WYLIE-KELLERMANN This spring, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department announced their plan to shut off water to 154,000 properties that owe $150 or more and are 60 days behind on their bills. This could mean nearly half the population of Detroit would be without running water. Thousands of children and elders are currently living with no way to bathe or flush their toilets or cook or clean or drink.
human beings especially people of color and those living in poverty. Detroit is one front of the struggle.
In an age of profiteering, depleted natural resources, and climate change, water is at the forefront of violence and occupation.
This issue is a response to that. In an age of profiteering, depleted natural resources, and climate change, water is at the forefront of violence and occupation. The earth’s bloodstream has become poisoned and privatized. The conflict that surrounds water is harmful to the earth, creatures, and
We hope this issue honors those in the struggles and calls us all deeper into this work.
An open letter to my students after my arrest for disorderly conduct
Thank you for reading through these pages, for the memory you hold, for the work of your hands, for your friendship, and for all you do towards building the Beloved Community. Let justice truly roll down like a mighty stream.
We hope that this isn’t just a one issue come back, but that it becomes a regular practice of documenting the work of Day House, Manna Meal, the Detroit Peace Community, and beyond of hospitality, resistance, and community. We invite you all to join us in the writing and work. Please send ideas or writings our way (email@example.com).
and respectful classroom conversation is predicated on good order. There is another kind of order, however, that throughout history has been used to keep the boots of brutes and empires on the backs of people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
KIM REDIGAN Dear students:
It has been years since we’ve published On the Edge. Lucy and I feel the gift received and given in picking it back up. As we leaf through old issues, we are constantly struck with awe and thanksgiving at the history we were brought up in. We are grateful to be raised in a community that cared about words and storytelling and held the newspaper, the bible, and the dish towel through all their work. We both often think of our mom and how we wish we could be doing editing, layout, and writing with her. So this becomes a gift not only for her, but a gift of hers that has rooted within us.
If we fail to incarnate these teachings, they remain dry as dust. How can we study the prophets, the Gospels, the encyclicals, and the saints and not act? As it has been said, “To know and not to do is not yet to know.”
Some of you have contacted me after seeing news of my arrest for a nonviolent action around the water shutoffs here in Detroit. While I am touched by your concern, I implore you to reserve your support for those being affected by the shutoffs and your own generation, To put it plainly, this is sin. “I was which, unless things change, is on track to inherit a commodified world in which beauty, nature, life itself will thirsty, and you...shut off my water.” be sold off to the lowest corporate bidder, an affront to all that is good, decent and human. After witnessing home after home being The action in which I and several others shut off in the early-morning hours where engaged was only a small gesture of loving contractors mark their work with a bold resistance, a humble offering of our own streak of blue spray paint (an action that bodies against the dehumanizing and suggests a sort of reverse Passover ritual), democracy-crushing effects of life under after listening to stories of people trying to Detroit’s state-appointed emergency stave off the inevitable (life is always manager. Pope Paul VI once said the world complicated when money is tight), needs witnesses more than it needs teachers, and after stuffing towelettes into and in times like these, to be a teacher may baggies for elders to use as bathing mean to move the classroom to the street in kits, I had to act. order to bear witness to the grave injustices that are harming our neighbors. When I joined others in blocking the contracted shutoff trucks from The glaring disparity between the rich and leaving that morning, I acted as a the poor in Detroit and the breathtaking mother, teacher and follower of Jesus, rapidity with which that gap is widening conscious of the privilege I carry, a is downright biblical. With its adult privilege not afforded those who are sandboxes, whimsically painted street-side so often casualties of a soul-numbing pianos, and upscale lofts, downtown Detroit legal system that discriminates has become a glittering playground for the against the poor and people of color. pioneers of the “new” Detroit while blocks away, children are unable to brush their In light of those whose very teeth or flush their toilets. existence in the face of brutal and unrelenting injustice is a To put it plainly, this is sin. “I was thirsty, daily act of resistance, our action and you ... shut off my water.” was a mere crumb, a tiny ripple, an embarrassingly small gesture of solidarity. While I know that for some of you, the A way of trying to bring some decency and image of one of your teachers being led off order to a disordered situation. in handcuffs is jarring, you should not be surprised. As discussed in class, we plant our Ironically, we were arrested for disorderly feet on the good soil of a biblical tradition conduct, an interesting charge for a and body of social teachings that demand teacher whose daily life of bells, schedules, justice and a preferential option for the poor.
This was the so-called order of the day that prompted the prophets to raise their voices to the high heavens over the ruthless exploitation of widows and orphans and the oppressive order of the day that compelled Jesus to turn over tables in the temple. And this is the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking order of the day here in Detroit, where tens of thousands of people are having their water shut off despite the protestations of local citizens, nurses from around the country, the United Nations, and people of goodwill from around the globe. No, if anything is disorderly, it is an imposed system of governance that is disenfranchising citizens (especially in African-American communities), uprooting the poor and working class, privatizing the commons, and denying babies and elders the human right to water.
I acted as a mother, teacher and follower of Jesus, conscious of the privilege I carry, a privilege not afforded those who are so often casualties of a soul-numbing legal system that discriminates against the poor and people of color. In biblical terms, the disorder of the present moment can best be understood as an aggressive assault by the powers and principalities, rapacious (dare I say demonic) economic and social forces that are crushing the poor in gross violation of the law of love articulated in Matthew 25 and the beatitudes.
This is a time for both lamentation and action. A time to wage love, as the mother of Detroit’s water movement, Charity Hicks, counseled, with all the courage and compassion we can muster. There is much more I want to say, but when I see you in class in a few weeks, we will discuss these things. You are scholars -- do the research and then take to heart the words of Pope Francis who rails against the idolatry of money, the “new tyranny,” as he calls it. When we get back to school, we will sit quietly with Francis’ question: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” One of the first things we’ll do upon our return is discuss the core principle of Catholic social teaching -- the dignity of the human person -- something worth pondering in times such as these. For now, turn your attention to those around you and your own future. Know that there are elders in the community who have given their lives to this struggle for a very long time and come to this sacred work with hard-fought wisdom. Listen to them. Respect them. Learn from them. Stand in solidarity with the good and graced work already going on. Study the historical context of the present moment, do social analysis in concert with others, and then decide where to place your feet. Jesus chose to stand with the least among us. Where will you choose to stand? What will you do to bring good order to a disordered world that needs you to wage love with everything you’ve got? [Kim Redigan teaches theology at a teaches at University of Detroit Jesuit and blogs at writetimeforpeace.com. She is a nonviolence trainer and peace educator with Meta Peace Team and is on the state council of Pax Christi Michigan.]
Religious leaders condemn shut offs, urge action to keep water on Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters Let the one who has no money, come… (Isaiah 55:1) Friends in Faith and Fellow Citizens: In our traditions water is a free grace, part of the great gift that underlies all creation. We drink it as life itself. We wade through it to freedom. And in conversion we are immersed and sprinkled and cleansed. We wash our feet, so to pray. In season we know to honor it even by fasting from it. It is the lifeblood of the planet, circulating as rain and river. Water is the very emblem of the commons, what we hold together as one. We share it beholden to local indigenous peoples who understood, understand this deeply. For governments which serve the people, a water system is a public trust, held in trust for this generation and those to come. For the United Nations access to clean potable water is counted a human right. In Detroit the largest b a s i n of fresh water in the world flows by us through the river, the strait.
To our God we pray, defend the children, the least, the poor. Help us to do so this day. Let your justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. RELIGIOUS LEADERS & ALLIES LETTER
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, Bishop of the Michigan Area of The United Methodist Church, Rt. Rev’d Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr. Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit, Bishop Walter Stargill, , Rev. Dr. Campbell Lovett, Conference Minister, Michigan Conference United Church of Christ , Dr. Stephen Murray, President, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth Harris, Dean – Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Barnett, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Patricia N. Benson, OP, Ph.D., Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Mary Catherine Gagliano, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Rita Schiltz, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Barbara Chenicek, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Margaret Karam, O.P., Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Rita Schiltz, OP, Inai Studio/ Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Jeanine Boivin, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Jean Horger, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Sister Carol Johannes, O.P., Adrian Dominican Sisters, St. Mary’s Student Parish, Ann Arbor, Christa Marsik, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters
Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, United Church of Christ, Cleveland, Mark A. Jenkins, Rector, St. James, Keene, New Hampshire, Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, Executive Director, A Just Harvest, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Formation and Justice, First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain (Boston, MA), Bishop John Selders, Amistad UCC, Hartford CT, Rev. Nelson and Joyce Johnson, The Beloved Community Center, Greensboro, NC, Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana, Seminary Consortium
for Urban Pastoral Education, Rev. Joyce Hollyday, Pastor, Circle of Mercy, Asheville, NC, Rev. Kazi Joshua, Allegheny College, Dr. Yvonne Delk, founder Center for African American Theological Studies, Chicago, Sister Mary Kay Flanigan, OSF, 8th Day Center for Justice, Chcago, IL, Rev. Daniel Dale, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL, Rev. Dr. Jim Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries, United Church of Christ, Sr. Corinne Florek, OP, Oakland, CA, Rev. Jana R. Reister, Knox Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati OH, Sister Rita A. Bozel, Daughters of Charity, St. Louis, Rev. Linda Johnson Seyenkulo, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Park Forest, IL , Jeff Neuman-Lee, Pastor, Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren, Littleton Colorado, Sister Mary Grace Higgins, DC, Daughters of Charity
Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest Justice Team, Global Action at Mercy International Association Sisters of Mercy, Mercy International Association at the UN, Leadership Team of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, Adrian Dominican Sisters
DETROIT Rev. JoAnn Watson Associate Pastor, West Side Unity Church, Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit, Rev. Charles Williams III, Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, National Action Network, Dr. Jim Perkinson, Professor, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Fa. Thomas Lumpkin, Day House- Detroit Catholic Worker, Brother Jerry Smith, Executive Director, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Rev. David Bullock, Greater St Matthews Missionary Baptist Church, Change Agent Consortium, Rev. Paul Perez, Director of Mission and Justice Engagement, Detroit Conference United Methodist, Rev. Denise Griebler, Detroit (Pastor, 1st United Church of Christ, Richmond), Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, Michigan Concerned Pastors, Rev. Louis Forsythe, Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Matthew Bode, Detroit Lutheran Cooperative Parish, Rev, Melanie Cary, Renaissance District Superintendent, United Methodist Church, Rev. Edwin Rowe, Retired pastor, Detroit Conference United Methodist Church, Rev. Maurice Rudds, Greater Mt. Tabor Misionary Baptist Church, Sr. Nancy Sylvester, IHM, President, Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, Rev. Baye Landy, Shrine of the Black Madonna U.C.C., Rev Gary Bennett, Shrine of the Black Madonna U.C.C., Rev. Pat Kirby, Shrine of the Black Madonna U.C.C., Fa. Norman Thomas, Sacred Heart RC, Rev. Willie Walker, Lovejoy Church of God in Christ, Rev. Frank Jackson, Metropolitan AME Zion Church, Rev. P.J. Anderson D.Min., Space for Grace Fellowship Center U.C.C., Re. Charles Williams Sr., Historic King Solomon Baptist Church, Zwadie Chalmers, Shrine of the Black Madonna U.C.C., Kim Redigan, Theology Dept. University of Detroit High School, Sec. Pax Christi Michigan, Rev. Peter Klein, Church of the Messiah, Detroit, Dr. Daryll Totty, Sr. Therese Terns, IHM, Peacemakers, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters & Associate, Sr. Cathey DeSantis, Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance, Sr. Paula Cathcart, IHM, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, Rev. Marcia L. Ledford, Priest-in-Charge, La Iglesia Detroit, Fa. Ray Stadmeyer OFM Cap, Pastor, St. Charles Borromeo Church Detroit, Sr. Judith Mouch, RSM, MSN, Sisters of Mercy, Detroit, Sr. Mary Ellen Howard, RSM, Sisters of Mercy, Detroit, Sr. Elizabeth Waters, IHM, Meta Peace Team, Sr. Gloria Rivera, IHM, Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, Rev. Courtney Williams, Brightmoor Aldersgate UMC, Rev. John Talk, Christ Church Episcopal Detroit, Rev’d Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner, Episcopal Church, Rev. Thomas H. Priest, Redeemer UMC, Rev. Michael Johnson, Detroit Lutheran Cooperative Parish, Rev. Lindsay Anderson, Detroit Lutheran Cooperative Parish, Rev. Kevin Johnson, Calvary Presbyterian, Dr. James Waddell, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Rev. Patrick Gehagan, Detroit Lutheran Cooperative Parish, Elder Leslie Mathews, Prayer With Fire Ministries, Ethan Drutchas, St. Paul U.C.C. Taylor
As religious leaders and communities we join our voices to say: In the name of humanity stop the shut-offs.
But in Detroit, under emergency management, as many as 150,000 homes are threatened with shut-off, up to 3,000 per week, largely by private contractors. People, including children, the elderly and infirm, wake up in the morning to find themselves unable to drink, cook, wash, or flush toilets. In fact, two thirds of these homes are occupied by children. People without water fear losing their children to protective services. They can be driven from their homes, their neighborhood, their city. On June 18, 2014 a complaint charging a violation of human rights was filed with the United Nations. Three Special Rapporteurs have already responded in a written statement, stressing the urgency of the situation: “Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.” As religious leaders and communities we join our voices to say: In the name of humanity stop the shut-offs. To Detroiters we say, alert, defend and protect your neighbors from shut-off. To Faith communities we say, become stations of water distribution (for information and guidance on this call 1-844-42WATER), as well as places of education, community and resistance. To Water workers, we say refuse to cut off your fellow citizens. To the Water Board, we say reverse this inhuman policy: turn their water back on. To the City Council, we say stop compounding this travesty with rate increases and other complicity. Revive and implement the Water Affordability Program. To the Governor we say: cease privatization and call off this action taken under emergency management.
METRO Dr. Paul von Oeyen, Social Justice Facilitator, Detroit Metropolitan Association, U.C.C., Rev. Louise Ott, Senior Pastor, Congregational Church of Birmingham, U.C.C., Drew Downs, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Clair, Kimi Riegel, Pastor, Unitarian Universalist Church, Southfield, Rev. Susan K. Bock, Grace Episcopal Church, Mount Clemens, Kate McCutchen, Trinity Episcopal Church, Belleville, Judith Erb, St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, Ann Arbor, Jean-Pierre Seguin, Canterbury House Ann Arbor, Margo Strakosch, Canterbury House Ann Arbor, Mary Wessel Walker, Canterbury House Ann Arbor, Clara Bosak-Schroeder, Canterbury House Ann Arbor, Rev. Bea Fraser-Soots, Ann Evans Larimore, Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Pittsfield Twp., William Hale, Priest in Charge, St. Luke’s, Allen Park & Christ the King, Taylor, Kathy Braun, Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Ann Arbor, Martha Rabaut, I.H.M., Peace Team, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Rev. George Covintree, Pastor, St. Matthew’s UMC, Livonia, Rev. Christine Humphrey, Rev, Susan Yomans, Rev. Kelsay Parker, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Richmond, Sister Catherine DeClercq, West Bloomfield, MI
STATE Rev. R.J. Hronek, Prophetic Integrity Facilitator, Michigan Conference, U.C.C., Pax Christi Michigan, Rev. Jim Kellermann, Retired United Methodist Clergy, Charles W. Millar, Perry, MI, Michael J. Anton, Retired ELCA pastor, Hastings, MI, Rev. Elizabeth Morris Downie , Diane Holley North Westminster Presbyterian - Lansing, Sister Ann Remkus, OP, Adrian Domincans Sisters, Rev. Kelsay O. Parker, Trinity Lutheran Church, ELCA, Richmond, MI, Sr. Barbara Cervenka, O.P., Adrian Dominican Sisters, Christine Matthews, OP, Adrian Dominican Sisters, Marilyn
For the children Reprinted from the archives MARIANNE ARBOGAST Thomas Berry, one of today’s foremost thinkers on ecology and religion, once said in an interview in Parabola that he is constantly asked about hope.
think of the bonds between human beingswhich, God knows, are challenge enough to forge and sustain.
Yet at some level, doesn’t all community “It’s not an easy question to answer, except require bridging the gap between ourselves that there’s no existence without hope,” he and the “other” whom we perceive as said, “I think constantly of the future of different and separate from us? Doesn’t the children, it require and of the resisting the need for all conditioning The children of the trees, the children of children to that tells us go into the who belongs the birds, the children of the animals, future as a and who single, sacred does not? the children of insects--all children, community. The natural The children world is more including the human children, must of the trees, than a stage the children for human go together into the future. of the birds, ac t iv it y. the children People and of the are place animals, the are bound together intimately. There is children of insects- all children, including no hope for the future if we exclude the human children, must go together anyone’s children. into the future.” Excerpt from editorial, The Witness, His last sentence brought me up short. October 2000. Of course I knew that trees and birds and animals have children, and that all life is interdependent. But when I hear “children,” my mind is conditioned to picture the human variety. And when I hear “community,” I
The greatest of these: wage love Of Charity, July 2014 BILL WYLIE-KELLERMANN Charity Hicks was a water, food, and environmental justice organizer in Detroit. In May she sparked the current struggle against the massive water shut-offs, by resisting her own. When the contractor had no order she called the police and they arrested her. In the days after she urged Detroiters to “wage love,” in the resistance movement, and helped initiated the filing of the United Nations complaint which resulted in the declaration that the shut-offs were a violation of the human right to potable water. In New York to speak on a panel, she has struck by a hit and run driver while waiting for a bus. After weeks in a coma she crossed over to God. In the wake of her death pastors, religious leaders and allies circulated a public letter against the shut-offs. A number of them were arrested in a series of actions blocking the trucks from going out to do so. Bill Wylie-Kellermann was among them. like water poured out, soaking the earth Charity Hicks was a libation upon us. tradition says: the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, the struggle, the movement, the community beloved do not hesitate to call her a martyr to call her blood such a witness, her life such a seed her voice such a mighty water or her righteousness one with the ever flowing stream I loved the curl of her lip when truth was on it. like Sophia/Wisdom she took her place at the gate and cried out. once in an audience at a downtown event on gentrification where questions and comments were to be tweeted by the techno-gentry then fell as designer digital fountains behind the panel she wasn’t having it – spoke aloud, uppity and out of turn summoning our silenced voices to speech. there was the unspeakable gut rocking silence (induced, uninduced) of the Bellevue ICU; partner and friends drawn close, still reading and singing prayers to defy the accidental designs of demonic providence. in the deep sleep at the end of days, she hears it all, every last word. the prayers to come home and walk among us. and she does. Gone to God and the ancestors, this old soul, this elder born comes walking bold, color and fabric thrown high. she carries herself with dignity and authority won perhaps from ancient royalty, but more by the rooted planting of barefoot step in a D-town garden history and memory alive beneath her feet when fruits come in and street harvest is shared she summons: stand there and tell history stand there and write policy stand there and convene the people where are the preachers? she once asked, gently calling me out. it was just days after her release from central detention cuffed and hauled off for resisting her own water shut-off. the moment she sparked Detroit’s water revolt and its community movement. at her committal I assisted: earth to earth, and heard again the question poured upon me.
Stations of the Cross: Water GOOD FRIDAY 2014 The Detroit Peace Community has been walking the Stations of the Cross through the city for decades calling out the places we see Christ crucified today. The stations begin at noon on Good Friday at Manna Meal, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. At the Detroit River CHANT: I hear the voice of my grandmother calling me. “Wake up! Wake up!” she says, “wake up! Wake up! Listen, listen, listen, listen! May the rivers all run clear! May the mountains be unspoiled! May the air be pure. May the trees grow tall. May the earth be shared by all!”
she knew there are wagers of death collecting chips they never played reaching business-like, with a murderous hand. she could look them in the eye without flinching or failing
LEADER: Christ was pierced for our sins.
throw down the chain, name the theft. she made a wager of love, betting her life without restraint or regret. there on the street on the way to speak, vulnerable and indestructible, she rose up.
ALL: Christ was crushed for our offenses.
this wager of truth this wager of memory this beloved wager of love.
“Christ of the Breadlines” by Fritz Eichenberg.
“Come all who are thirsty, come to the waters” Isaiah 55:1
waves in the storm. Taste the living water drawn from the well. We can touch the miracle of the fish in the Sea of Galilee. The names of these places were written and remembered throughout history because they matter. The land we walk on and the water that nourishes us are intrinsic to our discipleship. How well do we know our own watershed? The rivers and streams that feed this river, the water that nourishes us with drink, cleanses our bodies, and feeds our souls with beauty. The Great Lakes are 20% of the world’s fresh water. Yet each day, our Lakes are damaged economically and ecologically by untreated sewage, industrial pollutants, and invasive species. Around the globe, we are seeing violence and conflict over the control of water as we no longer have enough water to support our current use. These lakes are next to be commodified and privatized, sold and drained, bottled and pipelined. The privatization of water in Detroit is imminent. Who will be rooted deep enough to feel the water start to dry up? Who will claim this watershed? Who will speak for the water? Today, we remember Jesus’ last walk with our bodies feeling the journey with our feet. We are not walking in Jerusalem but here on the streets of Detroit. We carry the cross in this city, along this river, in this watershed.
Who will be rooted deep enough to feel the water start to dry up? Who will claim this watershed? Who will speak for the water?
As we read and remember the stories of Jesus’ life and death, we are confronted with the landscape and geography of Jesus’ roots. The stories we know so deep are not timeless or placeless, we know the names of the roads, the mountains, and the bodies of water. We can see the crowds gathered at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. We can feel the turbulent
SONG: Were you there when he cried out in his thirst?
Impact of horizontal hydraulic fracturing on ground water
I was asked today why there is so much flooding
Water is the main ingredient in Hydraulic Fracking: There is no single figure that can be given for the amount of water used for Hydraulic Fracturing. A 5000 foot deep Vertical fracking well may use 80,000 gallons of a slurry of water, sand, and chemicals (fracking fluid). A 12,000 foot deep horizontal fracking well needs a minimum of 3 million gallons water in addition to sand and fracking fluid and could need as much as 7 million gallons of water for the first frack. In order to keep gas flowing from the length of the horizontal pipe, each well could be re-fracked up to 18 times. Also, a single horizontal fracking pad can hold up to 12 wells. The grid below estimates the total amount of water used for a single fracking pad with one or more wells.
confined aquifers are isolated from normal precipitation and may take hundreds or even thousands of years to recharge. In effect, water taken from these water reserves is gone for ever. Also, the argument that “only 0.8%” of the water is drawn is drawn from the aquifer is similar to herder who decides to add one more cow to graze in a publicly owned “commons.” Although the impact of a single cow on the commons may be slight, if all herders using the commons follow the same logic, the commons will ultimately be overgrazed and destroyed. [Hardin, G., (1968), The Tragedy of the Commons, Science, Volumn 162, Issue 3859,pp.1243-1248] It is the mentality of each entity making choices based on its
Gallons used for a Hydro-Fracking Pad
Water use for one well/one frack
Water use for one well/18 fracks
Water use for TWO wells/18 fracks
Water use for THREE wells/18 fracks
Water use for FOUR wells/18 fracks
Water use for FIVE wells/18 fracks
Water use for SIX wells/18 fracks
U of Colorado, Natural Resources Law Center: oilandgasbmps.org/resources/fracing.php
In other words, a single Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing pad could use between 6.4 Million gallons of water and 1.5 Billion Gallons of water during the effective life of its wells. It has been argued that: “While the water volumes needed to drill and stimulate shale gas wells are large, they generally represent a small p e rc e nt a ge of the total water resource use in the shale gas basins.” [J. Satterfield, M. Mantell, D. Kathol, F. Hiebert, K. Patterson, and R. Lee, Managing W a t e r Resource‘s Challenges in Select Natural Gas Shale Plays, presented at the GWPC Annual Meeting, September 2008]. Compared to the total water use in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, water used in fracking wells “represent less than 0.8% of the 85 billion barrels per year used in the area overlying the Marcellus Shale in that same geographic area.
own self-interest rather than considering the long-term impact on the whole that has limited legislation or regulations that could otherwise control water extraction and preserve the water resource for everyone. In fact, in the State of Michigan, Fracking wells were actually exempted by Part 327 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Although the act recognizes the public good of regulating l a r g e withdrawals of water, it makes an exception for the Oil and Gas industry.
There is such a rush to develop this “new” source of domestic energy that little legislative or regulatory restrictions have been imposed on the industry.
However, the economics of drilling make it essential that the water being used is taken from a source close to the frack pad, so that the cost of transportation of the water does not become prohibitive. This encourages withdrawal from confined aquifers rather than from surface ground water. Water consumed from these deep aquifers, has a much more serious long-term impact on the environment than the water drawn from surface water sources because
I was asked today why there is so much flooding during heavy rain falls. The short answer. 1. HISTORICALLY Historically, the system is too old and desperately needs to be updated. 2 ECOLOGICALLY Ecologically, the Great Lakes is a dynamic system and its tributaries have been damaged, rerouted, submerged. 3. ECONOMICALLY Economically, the federal government has paid for water infrastructure until recently has diminished that funding to a negligible amount Making 1&2 untenable. 4. SOCIALLY Socially we’ve constructed roads, bridges, RAIL ROADS, without considering our water, and unfortunately pavement does not absorb anything. 5. STRATEGICALLY Strategically, piping hundreds of millions of gallons to the suburbs for drinking, and then flushing it all back to Detroit during a huge rain storm makes the problem really difficult. Basically, cause she can’t hold
6. CLIMATICALLY Climatically, climate change makes bigger storms more frequently because as the earth warms, lakes, rivers, and ice caps evaporate and get caught in the stratosphere, and POUR down on your ass then hussle on out to hit the next one. 7. ENVIRONMENTALLY Environmentally, our soil has been degraded to nothing, polluted and compacted. Healthy earth absorbs, damaged earth does not. 8. ECONOMICALLY Economically, flood insurance won’t pay for it, the City can’t pay for it, your mom can’t pay for it cause they probably just took her pension. 9. ANTHROPOLOGICALLY Anthropologically, humans have to deal with the problem we’ve created from industrialization. 10. KARMICLY Karmicly we’re so F+*&#ed.
On the ark with parched lips LYDIA WYLIE-KELLERMANN Candles shine from one room to another while I write in the waning minutes of battery life on my laptop. This is our second power outage this summer. Some neighborhoods have had even more. Each a result of strengthening and unusual storms. Heavy winds and humidity followed by quick and fierce rain. A month ago, we experienced “the flood”- freeways eating up cars needing divers to go below in search of bodies. Thousands of basements filled three feet with sewage as the pipes couldn’t hold the 5 inches of water we got in one day. It was indeed what engineers plan for as the “hundred year storm.” The fear though is that it won’t be another hundred years til it comes again.
Sitting with a group of environmental justice warrior writers reflecting on how we were doing, one friend said the flood was hanging heavy in her heart. She had been giving a tour of the environmental racism in the Delray neighborhood when the freeways started to fill. She watched a barefoot woman trying to push a car up an exit ramp with a child inside. She sat there stunned, fearing for her neighbors, thinking “This is it. This is what climate change is going to look like in our corner of the world.”
This is it. This is what climate change is going to look like in our corner of the world.
This summer comes after one of the hardest winters we’ve had with snow on the ground from the beginning of December to April. Add the polar vortexes and we were facing temperatures unheard of in these parts. Snow day after snow days for the kids, but unsafe to go outside and enjoy it. Catholic News Service photo. “The Story of Jonah” by Fritz Eichenberg.
all that shit and mother nature too, so she (DWSD) blows it all out una vez.
This all while California suffers another year of drought. Our friends, Tommy & Lindsay, moved here from Southern California and, at the first thunderstorm, they said “this is more rain than we’ve seen in four years.”
Climate change on top of the corporate and political burdens laid on this city are almost too much to bear. As Tommy Airey wrote, while we sit with no electricity, thousands are also without water. And many of them are still struggling to wash out mold and sewage from their basements…with no water to wash the floors or their bodies after the hard work. We stand with the Israelites in the wilderness wishing we could go back to the old broken way for it must have been better than this. How can it be that here in Detroit that we are both drowning and dying of thirst? Originally posted in radicaldiscipleship.net.
ERINN FAHEY One day I walked into work overhearing a conversation among coworkers. “Can you imagine? They do not have water. No way to take showers, brush their teeth, or cook! I mean think of the children and the elderly!” “I know, it’s terrible!” a co worker responds. DENISE GRIEBLER
They are talking about the folks in the greater metro Toledo area who have been instructed not use tap water since algae blooms were getting into the intake, not treatable by most municipal water treatment processes. Algae blooms are increasingly becoming a problem, especially in Lake Erie, where agricultural runoﬀ rich in nutrients drain into receiving streams and onto the great lake. Southeast Michigan and Northeast Ohio is a heavily industrial farmed area.
Toes burrowed in sand Huron washes over feet Gentle waves lapping.
Just a week or two earlier I was talking about the Detroit water shutoﬀs with the same coworker. I exclaimed the same things, “No running water, no way to take showers, brush teeth, or cook!” The reply, with no sympathy, “Well, if you don’t pay for it, then you don’t get it.”
T DOES HA
I was struck by the diﬀerence in responses to the same bottom line: People water to perform basic life necessities. What is a tragedy WAT do notinhave one situation is deemed deserved in another. To me this ER ME is a clear way to see the deeper structural and AN cultural racism that exists.
MARY OLIVER What is the vitality and necessity of clean water? Ask the man who is ill, and who is lifting his lips to the cup.
THERESA ZETTNER To me, water is dignity. We chant ‘water is a human right’, but the phrase gets said so often I ﬁnd the words piling, like others, into a heap of organized characters that no longer leave their weighty imprint on my conscience. In a struggle to hold on to something that I can express to my peers without further desensitizing myself in the process, I remember the aﬀected humanity. I remember the man who at ﬁrst refused to accept donated water but suddenly acquiesced upon clarifying that he’d “only just run out.” I remember the initial delivery at a water station, when the main concern wasn’t about having enough water for people, it was getting people to come to the station at all. Many carry a signiﬁcant sense of shame for having their water cut oﬀ, an obstacle that should be a non-issue given the background of the shut-oﬀ campaign. Restore water, restore dignity.
KIM REDIGAN long-distance swimmer
Ask the forest.
PHILL DAGE & JORDAN MULKA Although I die alone, I die alongside a host of other souls. All beings experience birth and death, I am not unique. I am only unique in the way in which I manifest my understanding of this interconnectedness The inter-connectedness of existence is symbolized in water. All living beings require water, human beings are comprised of mostly water. We drink it, cleanse with it, swim in it, and are continually refreshed by it. More than just a human right, water stands integral in the continuation of all life cycles. Sweat drips down my forehead, while tears stream from my eyes and I plunge myself into the river of life. I transform into a wave and become aware of all the millions of waves around me. Following the ebb and ﬂow, breathing in and out. I smile as I wash up unto the shore.
swimming laps the mind strays to baptism and what that might mean. arms like scalpels slice water. sure and strong full-throttle ahead. i reject sin and satan and all his works and wanna be a saint. past the mile mark arms hang heavy like holy week. spirit sags and is not so sure. as I die to old self and gasp toward new all I can do is tighten my goggles and pray for the grace not to drown.
QUESTION FOR NEXT ISSUE: Where do you find light in these dark times? Send 300 word reflections to firstname.lastname@example.org. Children’s artwork from IALAC (I Am Lovable and Capable) at Peoples United Methodist Church
PHILL DAGE & JORDAN MULKA Detroit City is paved with gold I don’t know what you’ve been told The water comes down in the pouring rain But tell me why there is none in our drain Some will win and some will lose But the question we ask is, who gets to choose? Here in Detroit City it’s going round The man on top is bringing the people down It’s the same old story, how will it end? Will the man on top write the book, or will the people come together again I hope so, oh I hope so. Some will win and some will lose, but the question I ask is, who gets to choose?
Day House happenings
A call to resistance
Within these pages lie the heartbreak and outrage at the ways that water is under attack on both a human and ecological front. Yet it is also fi lled with hope- the hope of community, of resistance, of Beloved Community. These words are truly an offering of gratitude for our wide community and an invitation to share in the outrage, hope, and struggle of watershed discipleship. Here are a few ways you can help…
It’s been ? years since we last put out an issue of On the Edge- mainly because no one here (especially me) felt they had the energy or the skill to do it. Our thanks to Lydia and Lucy Wylie-Kellermann for volunteering to fill this hole in our Catholic Worker activity. So, what’s been “happening” for all these years? Well, pretty much the same stuff. We haven’t gone through any major changes. Day House is still a house of hospitality for homeless women and children. We’re still managing Manna Community Meal soup kitchen in the basement of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. There’s still a weekly Sunday evening eucharist and dinner at the house. We still support and at least occasionally engage in public acts of protest and resistance- though our diminished numbers have limited us in this regard. Yet, of course, within this overall continuity in our 38 year history, there have been some changes. (We are alive, after all.) I’m presently the only full-time live-in community member at the house. But many more people from our wider community are here each week or as need arises, answering the doors and phone, doing house repairs, preparing Sunday evening post-eucharist meals, helping in so many ways. We are grateful for their commitments to the Detroit Catholic Worker- they literally keep us going! Marianne Arbogast and I continue to co-manage the soup kitchen. Jess DeBruyn joined us seven years ago. At present Jeff Helps some at the house, but he mainly works as a peacekeeper at the soup kitchen. Rumors are flying that a marriage is in his near-future! This past year has been a particularly “big one” for me. I turned 75 in February and celebrated 50 years of ordained ministry as a priest in June. “When are you going to retire?” people occasionally ask. But I hear no other call than to be here. It still seems to be the best place to try to deepen in trust and compassion. So, in broad strokes, that’s what’s happening. No major changes in our directions. A noticeable diminishment in our number and yes, our energy. Yet also, a deepening of presence among the homeless and hungry in our part of this city that has so many questions about its future. One thing is for sure- it’s a great place to try to live the gospel!
Shirley Beaupre joins the ancestors and saints Shirley Beaupre, friend and supporter of the Detroit Catholic Worker, community warrior, Grail sister, lay apostle, liberation advocate, Gaia cosmologist, Clem Kern co-laborator, hospitable homeowner, St Peter’s Episcopal parishioner, Grand Dame of Corktown,
• Learn the layout of your watershed--the names of each river, stream, and body • Collect the rain, recycle as grey water or give it back to the earth saving it from our sewers • Make a regular practice of putting your toes in the water that nourishes you • Recover the ancient stories of water in our faith communities and tell them again and again • Honor the sacred in the pouring rain and falling snow crossed over to God at her home early Tuesday May 27, 2014. Alleluia. She was 86.
Shirley was a graduate of the Detroit Public Schools, Cass Tech High School, received a B.A. in philosophy and education from the University of Detroit, and eventually a Masters in Theology from Marquette University. After teaching high school, she spent 6 years in South Africa teaching catechetics with the lay apostolate for the Marianhill missioners. This work presaged and even fed the changes of Vatican II. Upon return, she was hired by her home parish, St. Phillip Neri, as the first lay Catholic director of religious education in the country. She fell into a long-time friendship with Fa. Clement Kern of Most Holy Trinity, when she called to ask his help in a police situation with an undocumented worker and he talked her into receiving a guest in need to hospitality. For her the latter became vocational of her home on Bagley for the duration. Hospitality and radical politics also drew her to the Catholic Worker movement and also to the Little Brothers of Jesus. She was instrumental in the development of a low income housing project, Clement Kern Garden Apartments in the neighborhood (at Bagley and Trumbull), and was associated with a dizzying array of organizations and ministries. Among them: Manna Community Meal, Peace Action, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Detroit Coop Bank for the Poor, Women in Service, Hartland Ecovillage, Detroit CoHousing, Coalition on Temporary Shelter, Corktown Historic Society, Detroit City Council Red-Lining Committee, Detroit Block Grant Coalition, and the Casa Maria Youth Center. After a spiritual and cosmological paradigm shift, prompted by reading Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, she finally joined the Grail, an international community of women devoted to a radical gospel of environmental spirituality and the transformative work of sustainability. As to family, she was beloved sister to Ken and the late Douglas, dear sister-in-law of Geraldine and Beverly, and loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. She was waked at home in her front parlor and a funeral mass was celebrated at St Peter’s.
OCTOBER 27TH, 6:30 8:30pm: A free film and discussion at MSU Detroit Center (3408 Woodward, 313-578-9700) Water Wars: The Gentrification of Detroit! explores the fight for water justice and the barriers that prevent people of color and citizens living below the poverty level having access. The film traces Detroit’s economic crisis from deindustrialization and the foreclosure crisis to predatory lending to emergency management and gentrification, and assesses where the blame for Detroit’s decision to disconnect water to $3000 residents a week. Activists, officials and long-term residents are interviewed on recent decisions and restructuring and the Charity Hicks story exemplifies the personal and human aspect of this struggle. Hosted by: Uprooting Racism Planting Justice.
OCTOBER 29TH, 7pm: A free film and discussion at University of Detroit Mercy (Life Sciences 113, 4001 W McNichols, Gail Presbey at 313-993-1124) HIT & STAY portrays the hidden history of the Action Community and the raids they staged that turned priests, nuns, and college students into fugitives and targets of the FBI. Joe Tropea is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and public historian. He contributes to City Paper, Baltimore Brew, and IndyReader, and is an editor/writer of the history blog underbelly, while working his day job at the Maryland Historical Society. HIT & STAY is his feature directorial debut. He will be present and answer questions after the film. Special guest Jerry Berrigan will also be there to share reflections. Hosted by: James Carney Latin American Solidarity Archive (CLASA), and cosponsored by University Ministry, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR), and Gesu Peace and Justice Committee.
• Sing songs about the rivers • Play in the water! • Use less • Compost toilets anyone? • Resist the privatization common trust
• Worry about climate change • Keep your eyes open for the patterns of occupation and violence over control of water • Don’t buy into the idea that poverty is a justifiable reason for occupation or water shut offs • Don’t buy bottled water • Donate water or take a shift at the St. Peters water distribution station (email@example.com) • Call for the implementation of a Water Affordability Plan • Write, call, lobby for the water to be turned back on • Put your bodies in the streets, maybe even in jail • Keep Charity’s vision alive for a campaign “Waging Love” For more information and resources in Detroit: peopleswaterboard.blogspot.com, wethepeopleofdetroit.com, and d-rem.org.
NEXT ISSUE: We look forward to getting another issue out in three months! Our theme will be: finding light in the dark times of education. We would love to hear from you! Please consider writing 150-300 words answering “Where do you find light in these dark times?” JOIN THE MAILING LIST: bit.ly/OntheEdge-Mailing
Fifty years ago in his Kentucky hermitage, Thomas Merton wrote:
Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness. “Rain and the Rhinoceros” in Raids on the Unspeakable.
Chief Editor: Lydia Wylie-Kellermann Design Editor: Lucia Wylie-Kellermann Cover art: Theresa Zettner
Day House 2640 Trumbull Ave. Detroit, MI 48216
Day House A Catholic Worker Community 313-963-4539