Wednesday, February 11, 2015
On Thursday, four days after the snow storm, we delivered water to the east and northwest parts of Detroit. One of the victims of water shut-off lives on a street of mostly abandoned homes. The streets still had about a foot of snow. We got stuck at the end of the block and another Detroiter got stuck a minute later, tires spinning hopelessly out of control. We took turns pushing each other out of the ice and snow.
Detroit has 50 trucks to salt and plow snow and drivers work through the night after Level-3 storms (6 inches or more of snow). The city estimated that plowing all 684 miles of major streets in Detroit would take 3-5 days…but Detroit also has 1,884 miles of residential streets! We are fortunate to live on a street with an onramp & offramp connected to a major interstate and one of the snow plow drivers is a good friend of our neighbors across the street so he made sure all the snow was cleared all the way to the curb. It pays to be connected to people in high places.
But seriously, there has been a lot of talk in the past week about "the politics of snow plowing." The decisions made concerning who gets priority for first plowing definitely seem to have race and class implications. Downtown and midtown, inhabited by mostly wealthy white folks, always have clean streets and sidewalks almost immediately after a snowstorm.
On Saturday night, we attended the National Lawyers Guild dinner at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. The NLG honored the women of We The People of Detroit (WTPOD) with the Unsung Heroes Award. We were honored and humbled to sit with them and, of course, it has been transformative for us to get to work with them at the hotline, canvassing and delivering water. These are amazing women.
Below: WTPOD directors Monica Lewis-Patrick (left) and Debra Taylor
Here is Monica with our mentor and friend Jim Perkinson (whom we got to have dinner with the night before, along with his wife Lily Mendoza) and friends Baxter Jones (in wheelchair) and Kim Redigan, both on trial with the Homrich 9 for their civil disobedience arrests blocking water shut-off trucks:
And finally…. in the kitchen, ready for some late night bowls of cereal! Pretty standard practice in the Airey household.