Crystal Williams

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

Second Class Water: The business of water and the politics of water infrastructure in our communities

The Flint water crisis represents the worst possible intersection of racial and economic inequality as well as political exploitation and corruption in the United States. But the story doesn’t end and begin with Flint. Across the country we are witnessing water shut offs in Detroit and Baltimore and contaminated water in Alabama’s Blackbelt region. We’re seeing radioactive water in New Mexico and devastating droughts in California. And despite the national embarrassment of government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, several cities including Tampa, Miami, Sacramento and New York City are all at risk of falling to the same fate. Low-income communities of color across the country are in a full-blown state of emergency. Despite facing particularly devastating conditions brought on by a toxic mix of criminal level neglect at the hands of government and the commodification of water, too often voices of color are left out of crucial conversations about climate change and environmental justice policies. Despite this, our communities have and continue to organize for change and find innovative ways to care for and uplift our people. This workshop will feature examples of the innovative ways activists and communities are dealing with the national water crisis. The goal is to have a highly interactive, cross-region conversation in which people can plug in to local-to-national organizing efforts and incorporate an intersectional approach to talking about water rights, access and infrastructure.

Speakers: Brandi Collins, Crystal Williams, Dorthea Thomas, Art Reyes, Carrie Sloan