Professor Paul Mohai of the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment looked at air quality data in a part of Southwest Detroit, called 48217 for its zip code – predominately African American and surrounded by heavy industry. He found 48217 to be most toxic zip code in Michigan. The upside now? 48217 is getting more attention in the neighborhood’s fight for environmental justice there.
Where the Water Goes Around: Beloved Detroit is a biblical and political reading of Detroit over the course of three decades by an activist pastor.
Detroit is a place where one can take the temperature of the world. Think on the rise of Fordism and auto-love, the Arsenal of Democracy, the practice of the sit-down strike, or the invention of the expressway and suburban mall. Consider more recently the rebellion of 1967, the deindustrialization of a union town, the assault on democracy in this Black-majority city, the structural adjustments of municipal bankruptcy, and now a struggle for water as a human right.
Bill Wylie-Kellermann tells the story of working out his “place-based vocation” with a simultaneous commitment to gospel non-violence. He evokes the place Anishinabe people tread lightly the banks of Wawiatonong, “where the water goes around.” One narrative thread walks a procession through the streets, a contemporary “stations of the cross,” to the locations of crucifixion today. Another tells the story of resurrection in struggle and human community. Herein are public disruptions, liturgical direct actions, and courtroom trials. In resistance and risk, this book proclaims the gospel in context.
It’s all alive.
It’s all intelligent.
It’s all connected. It’s all relatives.