“THE BRIGHTMOOR NEIGHBORHOOD has one of the highest percentages of water shutoffs—and high rates of infant mortality, due to shutoffs. The ground is dry. People are very tense. You see a lot of skin diseases and rashes, especially on kids. You see it in guarded conversations. People aren’t going to come right out and tell you, ‘My water is shut off,’ but they may say to you, ‘I can’t boil those hot dogs—they’ll have to go in the microwave.’
We hear the narrative so often that people should just pay their water bill, but you can’t budget your way out of poverty. I am a disruptor of narratives. No, the lack of water is not because of your sin, or because you’re a bad parent, or because you buy a hair weave or spend money on a cellphone. None of that is true. Why don’t people have water? Because of unjust systems—because people are commodified, that’s why. If I saw you as a human being, I would be concerned that your baby doesn’t have enough bottles because you don’t have the water to make them with.