Hundreds Converge on Detroit to Grapple with Water and Housing Crises

Posted May 29th, 2015  |  News  |  Press Releases

Representatives from several nations attend “International Social Movement Gathering”

Click here for a schedule of the event.

DETROIT – Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the Detroit People’s Water Board Coalition are hosting a gathering of more than 300 social movement organizers and activists this weekend to strategize solutions to the denial of affordable water and housing to families across the US and around the world. The “International Social Movement Gathering” happens May 29 – 31, 2015 at various locations around the city. People from several nations and nearly 20 states in the U.S. will meet to develop legal and legislative policies and movement strategies in response to water shutoffs, housing foreclosures and escalating costs for the basic needs of survival.

“This Gathering comes at a critical time in the lives of tens of thousands of Detroit families threatened with water shut offs or having their homes taken due to tax foreclosure,” said Sylvia Orduno of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the Detroit People’s Water Board Coalition.

“We have survived relying on one another. We can find more power, strength and solutions working on issues of survival with people from around the nation and the world.”

US Representative John Conyers Jr. will welcome participants to the gathering and Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., will deliver Friday’s keynote address from noon to 1:00 p.m. Other participants at the International Social Movement Gathering on Affordable Water and Housing include representatives from Italy, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. Housing and land crises affecting communities across the globe will be discussed with U.S. activists by Césare Ottolini from the International Alliances of Inhabitants; and Bartíria Lima de Costa with CONAM (Confederação Nacional das Associações de Moradores/National Confederation of Inhabitants’ Associations).

Outcomes from the social movement gathering will include drafts of federal and state legislation on water and housing rights, along with strategies to address solutions from local to international levels; and stronger networks and responses among water and housing communities and institutions.