How One Woman Is Tackling Michigan’s Water Crisis

Last year alone, Detroit shut off water service to 23,000 residents.
We the People of Detroit in action. (Photo: Courtesy KIND)
Promoted byPromoted by Kind Foundation
Dec 19, 2016· 1 MIN READ
TakePart Staff

After witnessing the impact of the ongoing water shutdowns in her home city of Detroit, Monica Lewis-Patrick co-founded We the People of Detroit. The grassroots organization aims to help vulnerable populations gain access to clean water as well as tools and information that empower them to improve their quality of life.

As this video explains, many Detroiters lost access to water after the cost for the utility rose 120%+ in the last ten years. That surge in cost, coupled with increased poverty levels across the state of Michigan, has created “third world conditions,” Monica explains.

Monica’s journey as an advocate and activist began after the city of Detroit cut off water to a 44-unit apartment building occupied by low-income mothers and senior citizens. She immediately sprang to action, establishing an emergency water station and recruiting neighbors to devise solutions – which she refers to as “coalition building.” Unemployed herself at the time, she used her own money to purchase food, baby wipes, hand sanitizer & water to support the residents in need.

“We couldn’t wait on anybody to save us or respond to not having water. So we began to help ourselves and to help each other,” she says, reflecting on the grassroots approach her organization has taken since the beginning. Thus far, her efforts have been successful. Last year, We the People of Detroit delivered more than 125 tons of safe, drinkable water to residents across Detroit and Flint, and Monica shows no signs of stopping.

In recognition of her ability to empathize and mobilize, Monica has been named a $100,000 winner in The KIND Foundation’s KIND People program. She embodies a bold kind of kindness that so often escapes daily life. According to Monica, being kind means actively seeking opportunities to help others.