Wednesday, July 23, 2008


My cousin and mrs. o felt sorry for me. They sent me links. Of course, I'm supposed to be leaving to run errands at 10:45 (it's 10:32) and I just found out I need a new power steering pump--just as I got paid from my summer job. I swear, every time I think I'm getting extra money...

Seriously, my cousin Trin sent me a link about a black community in Ohio called Coal Run. Coal Run residents were just awarded $11 million by a federal jury because they'd been discriminated against by city and county authorities.


local authorities denied them public water service for decades out of racial discrimination.

Coal Run residents either paid to have wells dug, hauled water for cisterns or collected rain water so they could drink, cook and bathe.
$11 million doesn't seem much for the denial of water*, as that is a violation of international human rights policy. From the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:
The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses. An adequate amount of safe water is necessary to prevent death from dehydration, to reduce the risk of water-related disease and to provide for consumption, cooking, personal and domestic hygienic requirements.

The right to water clearly falls within the category of guarantees essential for securing an adequate standard of living, particularly since it is one of the most fundamental conditions for survival.
Remember, the denial of access to water is a technique that has been used to sustain the often horrible conditions in which vulnerable groups of people live. And the people of Coal Run did not get public water service until 2003. Water lines were first laid in the area in 1956.
*On re-reading, I realize how callous this sounds, as if this situation is something that can ever be "made up for," especially with money.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Good freaking lord. These kinds of stories don't get enough press. No wonder I want to slap a person every time I hear the term "post-racial society."

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...