Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Clean, affordable drinking water is a racial issue.”

Anna Clark points out that drinking water is an issue outside Flint, Michigan, and disproportionately affects communities of color—noting especially Detroit and Chicago.

When it comes to water, you’d think the cities of the Great Lakes would be the envy of the country. In a time of scorching drought and climate change, the northern coast is a place of abundance. The lakes hold an astounding 84 percent of all the surface freshwater in North America.

But even here, we struggle to deliver safe, affordable drinking water to millions of people, often communities of color. Throughout the region, these low-income neighborhoods face high water bills, contamination risks and large-scale shut-offs — all the manifestation of a history that many would like to forget. The “separate but equal” policies of the 20th century are still with us — and they explain why communities cannot take safe drinking water for granted, even amid the magnificent Great Lakes. (

Clark also points out two midwestern cities that are pioneers in removing lead pipes from their water systems: Madison, Wisconsin, and Lansing, Michigan.

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