Detroit to Flint and Back Again: Solidarity Forever

Critical Sociology 43 (2017)
Ami Harbin
Oakland University
Michael D. Doan
Eastern Michigan University
For several years the authors have been working in Detroit with grassroots coalitions resisting Emergency Management. In this essay, we focus on how community groups in Detroit and Flint advanced common struggles for clean, safe, affordable water as a human right, particularly during the period of 2014 to 2016. We explore how, through a series of direct interventions – including public meetings and international gatherings, independent journalism and social media, community-based research projects, and citizen-led policy initiatives – these groups contributed to challenging neoliberal governance, to undermining the legitimacy of state officials and their policies, and to shifting public consciousness around the human right to water.
Keywords Flint  Detroit  Water  Emergency Management  Community Organizing  Human Rights
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