Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey will speak at the UMW Water Witness at General Conference in Portland.LINDA BLOOM
United Methodist News Service
United Methodist Women have organized a public witness, “Don’t Poison Our Water: Water is a Human Right,” at lunchtime outside the Oregon Convention Center Plaza from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. on Monday, May 16.
The event is linked to a UMW General Conference petition entitled “Protection of Water” and the UMW 2016 mission study on Climate Justice.
Carol Barton, a UMW executive, pointed out that safe drinking water and proper sanitation are universal needs, “but we’re particularly focusing on environmental racism and how communities of color are affected,” she said.
Speakers at the rally will offer examples of ways that government or corporate neglect has had a negative impact on the health of those communities. Among the speakers are:
- Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, who will discuss the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, which has received international attention. The bishop issued an appeal as United Methodist organized to respond. The Crossroads District of the Detroit Conference hired Pete Plum to serve as district emergency water crisis coordinator last autumn.
- Rose Farhat, a member of the Liberia United Methodist Church, who will talk about how pollution attributed to Firestone Rubber is affecting a community south of Monrovia.
- A representative from the Portland Harbor Community Coalition, who will discuss the Willamette River Superfund Cleanup in Portland.
The local coalition is advocating “for an effective cleanup that would create jobs for the local community,” Barton explained. “They’re particularly calling for enough time to comment on the EPA plan.”