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Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights director comments in Huffington Post article about Detroit's water crisis

August 19, 2014

In Detroit, thousands of people have had their water turned off in the last few months after not paying their bills. For the water department, it's a way to get delinquent customers to settle their tabs. For residents and activists, it's a serious issue when the city's poorest, including children, are made to live without running water in their home. A group of United Nations experts called it a violation of human rights. "What [the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is] going to say is that the people aren't paying their bills, they shouldn't have any water. And the story's a little bit more complicated than that," said Peter Hammer, director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University. "You've got to situate water in the context of Detroit. It goes back again to the sort of underlying dynamics of huge water infrastructure, declining population, increased poverty ... it's not just water."