God of Determination, I pray tonight for the Homrich 9. Activists in Detroit, in 2014 they blocked trucks from shutting off the water of citizens who could not pay exorbitant rates.
More than 40% of Detroit residents live below the poverty line. In 2014, the city cut off the water supply to thousands of vulnerable citizens--including many children, elders, and people with disabilities--who were three months late or $150 short on their payments. The city spent more on these shut offs than it would have cost to implement an affordability plan that would have prevented shut offs and increased municipal revenue. Because the city had been put under emergency management in 2013, the people of Detroit could not use their voting power to change things.
With no legal or governmental recourse available, people linked arms and bodily blocked the gates at the Homrich Company, the private company that performed the shut offs.
Nine were arrested. During a trial, the jury appeared to understand this act of civil disobedience. The trial was halted to prevent the activists from being heralded as heroes. Later, the nine were let off on a technicality nearly three years after their arrest. Their actions slowed the water shut offs and brought attention, and some relief, but not a complete resolution of the problem.
Tonight, while current events make every moment seem particularly volatile, I am grateful for those brave souls who are in this justice work for the long haul. The Homrich 9 were impatient with injustice and yet radically patient in their commitment to the common good.
Help us, God, to know when impatience is called for and when patience is needed. Help us to keep working even when there is no easy answer or quick fix. Help us to know when to link arms and stand together. Amen.