Water is at the center of life. Revered by civilizations throughout history, it’s a seemingly infinite resource that’s also been squandered and monopolized in ways that have left many without proper or clean access to it.
On March 24, 2023, experts gathered in New York City to discuss water’s intimate relationship with racial justice at the Tzu Chi Center’s UN 2023 Water Conference side event, “Water Justice – Decolonizing and Restoring Intergenerational Relationships to Water for Access, Safety and Post-Traumatic Healing.”
Panelist Thaddeus Gamory, the Director of Community Engagement at Diversity in Aquatics, shed light on how water access in the United States began to exclude certain populations: “as water became something in the late 1800s and early 1900s where people saw it as a healing benefit, and they gravitated to other bodies of water, they started to create resort settings around them.”
He goes on: “as they developed those spaces, they wanted to restrict them and create spaces – which are exclusively white. And when they did that it had an impact… on black and brown communities and their continued relationship and traditions and customs and access to water.”
Learn more about this fascinating history and how people today can help make water access open for all in the video.