1-Hour Program

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From boil water notices in Texas to water shortages in Puerto Rico to infrastructure crises like Flint, water justice issues are increasingly a part of the national conversation around climate change and resilience. The reality is that the most vulnerable communities bear the greatest burden and barriers to access clean, safe water. Indeed, a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) showed that drinking water violations and weak enforcement correlate most strongly with race, ethnicity, language vulnerability, and poor housing and transportation quality.  Another new study by the Guardian showed that Latinx communities are disproportionately exposed to drinking water contamination. During this One-Hour Briefing Michelle Amelia Newman, an NRDC attorney, and Nicole D. Nelson, Executive Director of Equity Legal Services, Inc. will provide an overview of some common and emerging water justice issues communities face, with a focus on sanitation and drinking water issues, and racial disparities in water access and quality. Michelle and Nicole will then discuss how attorneys can assist in efforts for water justice, including examples of meaningful collaborations and best practices for working with impacted communities and community organizations. The agenda includes:

  • Introduction: safe water as a right (10 minutes)
  • Exploring common water issues, focusing on sanitation and drinking water (20 minutes)
  • How attorneys can support communities seeking water justice, including case examples and resources to connect with communities (30 minutes)


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