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WEL Coalition Supporting Students

The Water Equals Life (WEL) Coalition is honored to have been a part of Mothering Justice’s 2023 Back to School Community Event at Greater Ebenezer Ministries Church in Detroit, Michigan, this past Saturday, August 19th. We participated in this event alongside Mothering Justice, Brilliant Detroit, Detroit Parent Network, and others.

The event had a fantastic turnout. After being served food, playing games, and spending time in the bounce house, the kids went home happy and with the tools they needed to start the school year off right. WEL Coalition members passed out free toothbrushes and t-shirts to children and parents. Other vendors on site provided free haircuts, hair braiding, and dental services to the kids. Each child was also given new backpacks, school supplies, and winter coats at no charge.

During the event, Monica Lewis-Patrick, CEO of We the People of Detroit and founding member of the WEL Coalition, addressed the crowd to discuss a glaring issue for Detroit families. As the kids head back to school, water shutoffs are also resuming in the city. At the WEL Coalition, we know that water is a basic human need. For the sake of student success, it is essential that children and their families have access to clean, safe, and affordable water.

Imagine a morning routine for students without access to running water. How could these children brush their teeth? How could they have breakfast? How could they stay hydrated? With water shutoffs resuming in Detroit, we fear that this is the reality for some students.

Another detrimental aspect of having a service interruption is that, in homes that have their water turned off for more than 72 hours, state officials can come in and take children from their homes and parents. Over the past several decades, water rates in Michigan have skyrocketed by over 180%, and up to 320% in individual cities. A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan found that some residents are paying more than a quarter of their income to maintain water services.

The bottom line is that we have a water affordability crisis in Michigan. The time is now to enact a water affordability program across the state for the sake of our children and the well-being of our communities at large.

Want to help our cause? Sign our Water Affordability Pledge. While you’re at it, submit our action alert and tell Senator Chang that you support an equitable, water affordability plan for Michigan.

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