Freshwater Weekly: May 6th, 2020

Posted on June 5, 2020 by

June 5, 2020

This week: Water Equity and Justice

Freshwater Future Statement

Freshwater Future mourns the death of Mr. George Floyd and all who have died due to racism in our country. We stand in solidarity with all communities of color as the forces of systemic racism have made them most vulnerable to police brutality and disproportionate impacts and harmed families suffering in silence, who would like to believe the opportunities afforded to others would be unconditionally afforded to their families and communities alike throughout the country. The scourge of racism has been plaguing our country since prior to the formation of this nation. Recognizing that it is actions, and not simply words, that will move us toward a just and equitable society, we commit to new steps within our organization to make our work more just and equitable and to ensure that work pushes for justice and equity throughout our region and the country. While we do not have all the answers of how to move forward together at this moment, we commit to listening, learning and changing in the days and years to come.

Freshwater Future’s Current Work to Address Environmental Justice

Like the rest of the nation, our community partners are strained by the unlawful acts of our justice system, and Freshwater Future has grounded itself to be there for them more than ever. Meeting our partners in their local communities and listening to their issues has been paramount in how we best serve the community on their local issues has been a crucial component in how we best serve the community. Water affordability, lead line replacement, citizen science, public education, and more are the incredibly successful results of dialing back what we think needs to happen, and following residents and community leaders toward what actually needs to happen.  Current events have amplified why on-the-ground leaders’ voices must be uplifted and be in front leading the change. Freshwater Future is reminded by the current event plaguing our nation, that it is a constantly evolving process as we continue to strive to increase our knowledge in water equity and cultural competence for our work to be most effective.

Benton Harbor Community Water Council Working Hard for Water Justice

The Benton Harbor Community Water Council (Council) has been working tirelessly to ensure equity in water safety while the City of Benton Harbor remains out of compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water.  The Council’s work has varied as the needs of residents have changed, including:

  • Ensuring availability of water filters,

  • Training and assistance in use and installation of filters,

  • Calls with the city leadership and state regulators, and

  • Conducting outreach to find residents willing to participate in water testing at their homes to determine lead levels and whether the system is in compliance,

  • Participating in Covid-19 training for use of Personal Protective Equipment, social distancing and more so they could deliver bottles to residents and pick them up from door steps safely to aid the City in testing for safety and compliance.

We applaud the steady and courageous work of these residents that make up the Council for their ongoing efforts to ensure safe, clean and affordable water for the residents of Benton Harbor.

Take Action to Stop the assault on Clean, Safe and Affordable Water

During a global pandemic where access to clean water is vital and a time when communities are rising up against inequities faced by African-Americans and communities of color in this country, the Trump Administration once again delivers a massive blow to families and our communities across this nation. The Trump Administration has waged a full-on attack on the Clean Water Act by rolling back protections for thousands of stream miles and wetlands that are critical to keeping our drinking water clean and safe, by stripping federal protection for these streams and wetlands. Click here to learn more and take action!

County Comes Together as a Community When Michigan Sheriff Joins Protesters

Michigan officer Christopher Swanson sets the example for other officers to follow as he removes his helmet signaling the inclination to move in solidarity with the community. Engaging local residents to find what they need him to do, the protesters motion the officer to join the protest and walk with them. Humble in his approach it led to a peaceful protest, setting the bar high for other officers across the nation to observe and follow suit.

Resources for Additional Reading and Thinking for All Ages:

Beautiful Blackbird 

There Are No Mirrors….  

Be Water 


© 2021 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.