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Celebrating community improvement, confronting systemic racism in water access

Detroit is a great place to live, work and play – and visit. Many former Detroiters agree, flocking back to their hometown last week for Detroit Homecoming. There, they caught up with friends and discovered new ways to support the city’s economic and social renaissance. In its weekly newsletter, the Council of Michigan Foundations highlighted Detroit being named by TIME magazine as “one of the world’s greatest places in 2022,” and we couldn’t agree more.  

Mississippi Today has been reporting on the Jackson, Mississippi, water crisis and the historic systemic racism undergirding its failure, but it’s not without sexist and racist attacks, says Donna Ladd, the publication’s co-founder and a WKKF Community Leadership Network Class One fellow. The water crisis left many Jackson residents without water and under a boil water advisory after flooding damaged an aging and already fragile water treatment plant in this majority Black city. In her editor’s note, Ladd writes “It’s the moral of an ancient story: Never talk about systemic racism or the effects of white flight in Mississippi.”  

Paul Farmer, the late global health leader and WKKF grantee, has been in the news again. A number of outlets reported on the Philadelphia Eagles football team inducting him into their Hall of Heroes. Other honorees have included Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. WKKF continues to support the essential work of Zanmi Lasante, the sister organization in Haiti of Partners in Health, which Dr. Farmer co-founded in 1987. 

In Mexico, the outlet Cuarto Poder reported on a visit by government officials to Casa del Agua, a project of grantee Fundación Cántaro Azul. WKKF supports Cántaro Azul’s work to increase families’ access to safe water in the Chiapas Highlands. This involves strengthening community management and working with authorities to expand and improve infrastructure, while publicly promoting the human right to water. Casa del Agua is a training space designed to address local water problems through citizen science.

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