We failed in our aspirations to advance water equity and racial equity in authentic and honest ways when we published content in our newsletter citing the Great Lakes Water Authority’s commitment to affordability without also acknowledging the real harms endured by Detroiters because of GLWA’s words, policies, and actions in the past—particularly concerning water service shutoffs. In failing to do our work the way we hope to, we harmed those impacted by water affordability and those working tirelessly to seek accountability and meaningful community-led solutions. We are deeply sorry.
The Alliance is grateful to We the People of Detroit for bringing attention to this representation of our values so we can seek to make amends. After discussions with them and with our team, we commit to the following:
- We will provide anyone impacted by water affordability or quality in the Detroit region a platform on our website to share their experiences, solutions, and requests for change; we especially look forward to elevating We the People of Detroit’s forthcoming work on affordability guidance for utilities this summer and at One Water Summit.
- We will examine our processes and put controls in place to better source and review all content, whether written in house or provided by members and partners.
- We will ensure resources and trainings provided by the Water Equity Network and other Alliance programming directly name and provide guidance on avoiding, identifying, and rectifying instances where the language of equity is invoked in ways that diminish the harm caused by inequitable programs, policies, and actions or in ways that diminish calls for meaningful, community-driven solutions.
Our mission is to advance an equitable One Water future. Those who join us in this work come from a variety of perspectives, organization types, sectors, and regions. When it comes to advancing equity, we require a collective commitment to learning and growing together. We endeavor and aspire to advance water equity and racial equity in authentic, meaningful, and healing-centered ways. We endeavor and aspire to prevent equity-washing and honestly address the painful histories that demonstrate why a focus on water and racial equity are so very necessary.
The US Water Alliance will continue to listen, improve ourselves and our approaches in our work, and strive for liberation by addressing harms and injustices at their source and supporting those in the One Water movement and beyond to do the same.