Earlier this month, a Mexican immigrant was denied a running water and sewer connection in Montgomery, Alabama by the Montgomery Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board. The AP reports that “the board used to require only a photo ID to obtain service, but changed its policy to require more documents to comply with the new [immigration] law.” The board later announced that they had “resolved” the issue with the immigrant, who is now pursuing a lawsuit against the state, after they realized that the law had not yet taken effect and that they mistakenly acted to quickly to discriminate. HB56 was scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1st, but on August 29 Judge Blackburn announced a one month injunction to further review the law and the legal challenges. Unless she announces an extension or a new injunction, then HB56 will take full effect this Thursday, September 29th and government agencies, including county water and sewer boards, will not be allowed to conduct business with an undocumented immigrant. Thousands of families across the state could lose water, sewer, power, transportation, housing, medications, and employment.
VamosTogether announces a call for solidarity:
DO NOT DRINK OR USE RUNNING WATER THIS THURSDAY.
Unless we hear good news from the Judge Blackburn, thousands of people of conscience across the state of Alabama and the nation, including VamosTogether’s Movement Members, will join in solidarity with our undocumented brothers and sisters in Alabama and will not drink or use running water this Thursday. Water is a human right. It is as essential to life as love and air. HB56 is already violating human and civil rights. It is already dehumanizing people and forcing families to hide amidst hate or to flee in fear. Like water, HB56 will affect everyone- every community, every family, every person.
Injustice in our communities should affect everyone, not just because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere; but moreover as Edmund Burke said, “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So while its true that most politicians will not hear our prayers on Thursday nor taste our thirst, we will and God will. While its true that television cameras will not capture our silent act of solidarity, we will remember it and sleep slightly better for it. While its true that judges and justice may not seem to listen, we will- to our conscience. One day without running water will only give allies of Alabama’s undocumented families a taste of what will become reality for them day after day. It is only a small gesture, but it is a start. We did not choose to live in such an imperfect and unjust society, but we cannot choose to accept it. We will continue to vocalize, humanize, organize, and mobilize until HB56 is nullified or repealed and Alabama has become the Beloved Community because as Rev. Martin Luther King said, “we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Therefore, we will not drink the water on Thursday and we invite you to do the same. VamosTogether Alabama!
Quotes for thought:
“The water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside welling up to eternal life.” Jesus Christ, Book of John
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during his 1963 speech, “I Have a Dream”
“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” Nelson Mandela
“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746
“The dogs of the rich eat better than the children of the poor.” Latin American Political Saying
“The dogs of the rich drink better than the children of the undocumented.” Newly Coined Alabama Political Saying
“Will all the water in the ocean wash this blood from my hands? No, my hands are more likely to stain all the waters of the seas, turning then from green to red.” Macbeth Act II, Scene II
“Wherever we’ve traveled in this great land of ours, we’ve found that people everywhere are about 90% water.” David Letterman
Images of Alabama’s use of water to oppress and discriminate in the past: