On July 18th, I traveled with a friend to Detroit to protest the water shut-offs that have been happening there. I've always enjoyed photographing protests. The energy of the crowd is electric and there are endless opportunities for photos. So far, I've only shot at events I believe in, like March Against Monsanto and 1 Billion Rising, but it might also be fascinating to take photos for a cause I wasn't on board with. Maybe.
It was incredibly hard to pick which photos to showcase here, but here are a few:
One thing I noticed at this protest that I haven't witnessed in the past-- this betrays my lack of involvement with the Twitter community--was how many people were on their cell phones the entire time.
The march walked through downtown Detroit to Hart Plaza. Along the way, protesters stopped to chant "Make the banks pay!" and "Turn the water ON!" We passed CHASE bank, among others.
Looking up, the windows were filled with employees. You can see a few in the bottom right-hand corner.
This person had a giant paper mâché head of Michigan's Governor, Rick Snyder. There was quite a bit of hostility and blame directed at Snyder for the water shut offs. Protesters connected the water shuts offs with the appointment of emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, by Snyder. Citizens of Detroit have opposed the implementation of this law since the start.
Some signs were more direct than others.
This is one of my favorite photos of the day. Speaker, Maureen Taylor, state chairwoman of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, came out to support the protest. Maureen received a lot of attention after this video went viral earlier this month. She is a non-nonsense activist. I appreciate and admire her candor when dealing with issues that impact the citizens of Detroit.
Michigan nurses were out in full force. Nurses are the people who, after those directly affected with the shuts offs, are on the front lines of the crisis. Elderly individuals, children, and the disabled, are those most negatively impacted by not having access to water. Dehydration and infection are two conditions nurses have seen most often as a result of the crisis.
This is another one of my favorite photos from the protest. The Great Lakes house most than 20% of the planet's fresh water. If the next world war is fought over water, as many have speculated, it would make sense that the rumblings of that war would take place in Michigan, among the poor and disenfranchised.
I'm thrilled I was able to participate in this protest, though sad that access to clean water has become something requiring protest.
Yesterday, in what is hopefully a good sign, more control of the Water & Sewage Department was given to Mike Duggan, Detroit's Mayor.
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