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Articles by Zenobia Jeffries

Zenobia Jeffries is the racial justice associate editor at YES! Magazine.

Featured Article

Each day, Catherine Caldwell hauls three gallons of bottled water to her bathroom and two to her kitchen. She and her family use the water for flushing the toilet, washing hands, and — after heating it on the stove — cleaning dishes and cooking. For bathing, they head to her mother-in-law’s house a few blocks away.

The 44-year-old Caldwell, her husband, and two young grandchildren have been living without running water in their Detroit home for over four months. Every two weeks, they receive a delivery of water from a local nonprofit, We the People of Detroit. It’s the second time they’ve been without water services in the three years they’ve lived at the current residence. The short of it is this: They can’t afford to pay the bill, and the water company shut off their water.

YES!/Jennifer Luxton

Stories like Caldwell’s are common in Detroit. The city has a 40 percent poverty rate, and residents have seen water bills double over the past 10 years. But more often now, it’s not just Detroit; stories of people living without water are coming from other cities — Toledo, Ohio; Baltimore; and Houston. In Phila... Read more