Food & Water Watch along with director, Liz Miller will be launching a six-month tour of the The Water Front around the Great Lakes. The campaign begins in September and we will be visiting over 20 cities and 40 universities! Some of our stops include:
Duluth, Madison, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Akron, Erie, Buffalo, Minneapolis, D.C. Traverse City, Fort Wayne, Benton Harbor, Tiffin, Pittsburg, Lansing, Green Bay, Gary and more...
Clayton State University brought Associate Producer Curt Smith and our new WATER FRONT GUIDE to Atlanta. Its true, Atlanta is not next to the Great Lakes but they have had their share of water privatization battles over the last few years, and we were thrilled that Clayton wanted to be the first university to integrate the GUIDE into two classes. Roderick Keith Linzie of the Sociology department was our host and his work focuses on social movements and social inequality. Curt Spoke in his two classes including, "Survey of Social Sciences & Contemporary Issue." Dr. Linzie used clips from The Water Channel (Maude Barlowe, The Truth Commission and the seven minute short) to frame the issue and next semester he plans to show the film. Look for an entry under "In the Classroom" to see how he used clips and the guide to fit into a 50 minute discussion class setting. Many Thanks to Dr. Linzie for bring Curt and "The Water Front" to your students!
Wayne Howard - Great Lakes Committee Chair of the Sierra Club brought the Tour to his
local theater in Rochester and attracted a big crowd. He invited Miriam Kramer of Welfare Rights, the terrific organizer in the film, to speak at the event and he writes,
"It was wonderful! We had about 80-85 people and the Q & A went very well.
The audience asked great questions. It was joy to have Marian spend some time with all of us. She is truly a remarkable person. I am amazed by her work and her ability to mobilize and
inspire others. I can't think of anyone who would be more deserving of the
Purpose Prize (Miriam won the Purpose Prize for her work around water rights).
Wayne is hoping to organize a follow-up event, showing the film at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) in early December.
The Water Front is screened in Ann Arbor October 1, the same night as water investor T. Boone Pickens...
The screening in Ann Arbor was a total success. Almost 50 people were present and audience members had an opportunity to speak to Highland Park residents who were on the panel for discussion. Clean Water Action was at the event to discuss the Great Lakes Compact and contextualize the film with all of the recent events in Michigan. One audience member, who used to work for the state government, shared a story about discovering corruption at the state level with regards to rubber stamping permits for Nestle. Communities are up in arms over this. Water investor T. Boone Pickens was making waves at another venue in Michigan the same night but this did not deter the terrific turn out at "The Water Front" Ann Arbor screening.
"I also got great feedback after the screening- people found it extremely inspiring, and there was some really great energy in the room.. so "The Water Front" is continuing to make its way around the Michigan community."
Comments sent to us from environmental justice scholar and organizer, Aviva Glaser.
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, tie privatization of water to prisons and social welfare, October 2, 2008
Over fifty folks showed up to a terrific screening at Ypsilanti to discuss some important questions:
*How can we tie privatization of water to privatization of prisons and social welfare?
*What implications does this film have on our community and campus?
*What are the barriers to understanding those that privatize?
*How can we add the human element to the privatization that's happening all around us?
*How can this be prevented in our community here?
*What's our place as social workers when this is occurring outside of our communities?
"We had a lively, diverse discussion of social justice issues, especially in how they connect to the social work profession and our community. It was an intimate setting which seemed to offer personal testimony from the audience and pertinent information from our discussion panel. Many were moved by the documentary and the discussion that followed
Next steps? We will be meeting next week to discuss how we can translate this film's energy and focus to our campus and community. I will be discussing how we can rid our campus of bottled water!"
- Dan Leonard -
Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, was a natural venue for the opening of the 6-month tour of The Water Front throughout the Great Lakes region. “With the recent passage of the Great Lakes Compact and the approaching elections, this couldn’t be timelier” said Sam Finkelstein, the tour organizer, as he introduced the film. Residents from the area gathered in Marygrove College in Detroit, a leader in urban social justice education. “This film shouldn’t just touch you,” said Marian Kramer, who is featured in the film and was at the screening, “it should grab you” – and she gestured as if she was choking. And it did just that, the viewers were grabbed by this film and the subsequent discussions. “How can our water be defined as a product?” asked Lynna Kaucheck of Clean Water Action, as she highlighted the underlying economic and political issues that result in situations such as those we experienced in Highland Park. This screening was a great way to launch this historic tour to over 30 cities!
Marygrove Provost, Dr. Edward Thompson, III was at the screening and in his welcome he reminded the audience that of the three nuns who started the College, one was from Haiti and the school has maintained its commitment to urban education and diversity since then. In fact the college refused to leave Detroit after the 1967 rebellions.
Photographs of the event were taken by Christian Burkert, an experienced photographer from Hanover, Germany who is working on a project about Detroit.
September 26, 2008
Urban Planner screens "The Water Front" to 200 students at Wayne State University, Detroit , Sept. 25, 2008
Jeff Horner is a consultant, a professor, and the director of the Urban Studies Program at Wayne State University. To make the "Water Front" screening into a lively event, Dr. Horner invited Councilman Chris Woodard and former HPDEVCO exec Harriet Saperstein to speak to questions after the film. Dr. Horner reported that the burning question was, "How are things now with the new gubernatorial appointee,"? The answer was provided by Councilman Woodward who "gave a big thumbs up, and pointed out that shutoffs have been eliminated as far as he knows." Dr. Horner writes to us, "Thanks for making this possible, I plan on showing it to all of my urban studies courses." Thank you Jeff Horner!
Joe L. Carter on Detroit Public Radio, promoting the Great Lakes Tour launch and framing the water blues, Sept. 23, 2008
The interview was podcast so check it out on-line at:
Legendary Joe L. Carter goes on radio today with Associate Producer Curt Smith to
talk about The Great Lakes Tour and to help frame the water crisis in Highland Park and internationally. The interview (which is about 15 minutes into the program) is immediately after the news on the Great Lakes Compact which was passed by the house today.
Marygrove College will host the first screening of our six-month tour. Marygrove
has a long time commitment to social justice and urban planning so we are thrilled about this opportunity. The film will be followed by a panel including Maureen Taylor of Welfare Rights who is featured in the film, representatives from Food and Water Watch from D.C. and Clean Water Action. Don't miss out!
Professor Bunyan Bryant, Ph.D., who was instrumental in the establishment of the Environmental Justice Initiative at Ann Arbor, was in the audience May screening at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment. This is what Professor Bryant had this to say about The Water Front:
"The Water Front is an amazing movie that chronicles the institutional abuses of citizens in a city where fresh water resources are abundant.The threat of privatization and the commoditization of water strike a devastating blow to the working class and those least able to eke out a living. This movie should be viewed by everyone concerned about the survival of our communities and the just and equitable distribution of water resources."
Bunyan Bryant, Ph.D. Director of the Environmental Justice Initiative at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, Ann Arbor, Michigan.