I remember hearing about the water issue in Flint, Michigan in the middle of 2016.
If you don’t know what I am referring to it is a well-documented scandal including criminal charges, conspiracy, and racism. A summary review published last year can be referenced here.
It’s still hard to grasp that something like this happened. Once you hear the story it’s not surprising that it started with public officials looking to save money. Reviewing the 2017 timeline leaves out any mention of the lives that were lost and compromised, the children that will be forever affected or the families that have, in essence, lost all semblance of regular life that most of us in America take for granted.
The residents of Flint will never be fully restored or repaid for the crimes committed against them.
Living in Texas, so far away from Flint and having the luxury to go into my kitchen and turn on my faucet anytime, it was naive of me to think this was some sort of isolated event.
A few months ago, I heard that some of my fellow political activist friends would be making a trip to an area of Texas that has no potable water. They would be visiting a church in a community that depends on donated distributed bottled water to meet every need from drinking and cooking to showering and laundry.
I was unable to make the trip with them and I thought to myself at least in our State there are lots of activists and advocates for communities that face these types of challenges. I also trusted that the dedicated individuals looking into this issue would have a solution in no time.
Here is my true confession. I never expected to hear that the water crisis in Sandbranch, Texas had been a decades long struggle for its residents. I had to wake up again.
I struggle with the economy, rising costs of healthcare, a state legislature that seeks to control my very body and the first world challenges of “I need more sleep, less sugar and a retirement plan”. The community of Sandbranch, a rural community in unincorporated Dallas County has been living without potable water for over a decade.
Dallas County built a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant on their doorstep. But state-of-the-art did not include protection from chemicals and bacteria in the leaching field seeping into their water table.
Water tables do not right themselves quickly. Not to mention that the Water Plant is still there providing water to millions in the DFW area. Communities like Sandbranch, that are home to few, have little sway to demand better.
I’m only just starting to understand the whole story. And for the record this is right in my backyard.
I never would have known this to be an issue if I depended on local new agencies or my local government to publicize this horrendous collateral damage of urban growth.
Have I mentioned that I am a political activist? I am the Vermonter in Texas. I seek to be an asset to my community. This issue called for action. I was lucky enough to hear it.
Others organized, and I joined them.
We are a team that seeks to provide a more steady and dependable fresh water source while the many federal, state and local authorities fulfill administrative needs assessments and find the solution, as well as the funds to actually link the community to the basic human right of clean water that so many of us take for granted.
Economic Justice Dallas is a nonprofit organization launched by ordinary activists just like you who think it’s immoral that these people should have to live without ready access to safe water. Water and sewers are coming to Sandbranch, but a timeline cannot even be estimated.
To find out more about how you can pitch in to help this community visit our gofundme page here.
If you have a local issue that you are passionate about but are not sure how to proceed without slowing the arduous work of the long-term solution seekers: please email my team at Now We Revolution. (firstname.lastname@example.org). It is our main goal to find inroads and next steps for activists, organizations and citizens who are ready to take action.