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#WageLove: Water Activists Build a Global Movement

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
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2017 0419comic3Grassroots efforts by Nicole Hill and Melissa Mays -- and the thousands of others fighting alongside them in Detroit and Flint to ensure access to safe and affordable drinking water in Michigan -- have galvanized public attention in recent years. But an equally epic battle has been waging in the courts, a slower-paced struggle to stop what is happening in Detroit and Flint and make sure it doesn't happen elsewhere.

Meet civil rights lawyer Alice Jennings. "If you were to actually order a burger with awesomesauce, it would just be Alice Jennings, sitting on your burger," Nicole Hill told us when we interviewed her in January. Sharp, commanding and full of laughter, Jennings was among the first to recognize the Detroit water shut-offs as a human rights issue, tipped off by early water warrior Charity Hicks. Ever since, she's been helping to frame the legal issues that will one day ensure your children -- or perhaps their children's children -- have access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water, even as this supposedly renewable resource is rapidly privatized.

"#WageLove" -- named for the hashtag water activists use to commemorate the contributions of Charity Hicks -- is a rare hopeful story from the Michigan water crisis. But the last before we look at land and housing, coming in May, will look at the widespread impact water profiteers have on public health.

2017 0419comic2

2017 0419comic

ENDNOTES

  1. Personal interview with Alice Jennings, conducted on February 10, 2017.
  2. "Driver Who Killed Charity Hicks Pleads to Homicide and Leaving the Scene," Brad Aaron, Streetsblog NYC, March 22, 2016. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2016/03/22/driver-who-killed-charity-hicks-pleads-to-homicide-and-leaving-the-scene/
  3. "$3000 Water Bills: Highland Park Residents' Water Struggles Continue," Vickie Thomas, CBS Detroit, January 23, 2014. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/01/23/3000-water-bills-highland-park-residents-struggles-continue/
  4. "Contract for Detroit Water Shutoffs Doubles in One Year," Joel Kurth, The Detroit News, October 13, 2016. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/10/13/contract-detroit-water-shutoffs-doubles-one-year/92031538/
  5. "UN Officials 'Shocked' by Detroit's Mass Water Shutoffs," Laura Gottesdiener, Al Jazeera, October 20, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/10/20/detroit-water-un.html
  6. Michigan Water is a Human Right: Bill Package Summary, downloadable via "Join us at the State Capitol on March 22, for World Water Day!" People's Water Board, March 13, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2017: https://peopleswaterboard.org/2017/03/join-us-at-the-state-capitol-on-march-22-for-world-water-day.html

Copyright Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes 2017.

Melissa Mendes

Melissa Mendes is the author of Freddy Stories, a Xeric Award-winning, all-ages graphic novel. She received her Master's of fine arts degree from The Center for Cartoon Studies in 2010, does comics-making workshops for kids, has been an art teacher and once worked at a convenience store. Melissa lives in Hancock, Massachusetts. You can see more of her work at www.mmmendes.com.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a cultural critic and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press) and Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.

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#WageLove: Water Activists Build a Global Movement

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes, Truthout | Graphic Journalism
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

2017 0419comic3Grassroots efforts by Nicole Hill and Melissa Mays -- and the thousands of others fighting alongside them in Detroit and Flint to ensure access to safe and affordable drinking water in Michigan -- have galvanized public attention in recent years. But an equally epic battle has been waging in the courts, a slower-paced struggle to stop what is happening in Detroit and Flint and make sure it doesn't happen elsewhere.

Meet civil rights lawyer Alice Jennings. "If you were to actually order a burger with awesomesauce, it would just be Alice Jennings, sitting on your burger," Nicole Hill told us when we interviewed her in January. Sharp, commanding and full of laughter, Jennings was among the first to recognize the Detroit water shut-offs as a human rights issue, tipped off by early water warrior Charity Hicks. Ever since, she's been helping to frame the legal issues that will one day ensure your children -- or perhaps their children's children -- have access to affordable, clean, safe drinking water, even as this supposedly renewable resource is rapidly privatized.

"#WageLove" -- named for the hashtag water activists use to commemorate the contributions of Charity Hicks -- is a rare hopeful story from the Michigan water crisis. But the last before we look at land and housing, coming in May, will look at the widespread impact water profiteers have on public health.

2017 0419comic2

2017 0419comic

ENDNOTES

  1. Personal interview with Alice Jennings, conducted on February 10, 2017.
  2. "Driver Who Killed Charity Hicks Pleads to Homicide and Leaving the Scene," Brad Aaron, Streetsblog NYC, March 22, 2016. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2016/03/22/driver-who-killed-charity-hicks-pleads-to-homicide-and-leaving-the-scene/
  3. "$3000 Water Bills: Highland Park Residents' Water Struggles Continue," Vickie Thomas, CBS Detroit, January 23, 2014. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2014/01/23/3000-water-bills-highland-park-residents-struggles-continue/
  4. "Contract for Detroit Water Shutoffs Doubles in One Year," Joel Kurth, The Detroit News, October 13, 2016. Accessed March 27, 2017: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/10/13/contract-detroit-water-shutoffs-doubles-one-year/92031538/
  5. "UN Officials 'Shocked' by Detroit's Mass Water Shutoffs," Laura Gottesdiener, Al Jazeera, October 20, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/10/20/detroit-water-un.html
  6. Michigan Water is a Human Right: Bill Package Summary, downloadable via "Join us at the State Capitol on March 22, for World Water Day!" People's Water Board, March 13, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2017: https://peopleswaterboard.org/2017/03/join-us-at-the-state-capitol-on-march-22-for-world-water-day.html

Copyright Anne Elizabeth Moore and Melissa Mendes 2017.

Melissa Mendes

Melissa Mendes is the author of Freddy Stories, a Xeric Award-winning, all-ages graphic novel. She received her Master's of fine arts degree from The Center for Cartoon Studies in 2010, does comics-making workshops for kids, has been an art teacher and once worked at a convenience store. Melissa lives in Hancock, Massachusetts. You can see more of her work at www.mmmendes.com.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a cultural critic and author of several award-winning, best-selling nonfiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press) and Cambodian Grrrl (Cantankerous Titles). She is a Fulbright scholar, a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2016 Write A House Fellowship in Detroit. Her work has appeared in The Baffler, Al Jazeera, Salon, The Onion, Talking Points Memo, Wilson Quarterly, Tin House, and in international art exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and a solo show at the MCA Chicago. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, and in The New York Times, among others. Her most recent book, from Curbside Splendor, is Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes.