Water Hub Blog

2021 recap: Color of Water greatest hits

Color of Water diverse speakers bureau

Our Color of Water speakers bureau was a force for nature in water media this year.

We launched the Color of Water to give voice and visibility to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices traditionally overlooked in mainstream media. There’s an urgent need to tap sources beyond the status quo “water people” (engineers, utility workers, and academics). But with our partners, we’re turning the tide on “water expertise” centered in the press–– including Tribal members, folks from frontline communities, and people who work in intersecting fields (health, farming, housing, forest management, urban development, etc.). 

Water media wins

These are some media moments from directory members this year that had our hearts beating deeper for our passion to amplify water justice leaders across the country. 

  • Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy executive director, Colette Pichon Battle, and We the People of Detroit president and CEO, Monica Lewis-Patrick’s joint op-ed calling for all families to have access to safe, clean, and affordable running water as a climate response strategy (Reuters)
  • Earthjustice’s water policy lobbyist, Julian Gonzales, connecting the dots between housing and utility justice (Grist
  • NRDC’s Jeremy Orr, Senior Attorney for its Safe Water Initiative, speaking to the importance of lead pipe replacement in the wake of historic federal infrastructure spending (Chicago Tribune)
  • Pueblo Action Alliance’s Director, Julia Fay Bernal, reimagining water management and systems through an Indigenous feminist lens (Climate One)
  • The Oregon Water Futures Project’s report highlighting the intersection of climate change and historic underinvestment in water infrastructure impacting rural and low-income communities (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
  • Community Water Center’s co-founder and executive director, Susana De Andas op-ed speaking truth to power for water affordability (The Hill)

Around the web

Online, we launched a campaign to invite folks with both lived experience and technical expertise to the Color of Water community. To spread the love, we celebrated members on our Twitter account. Want to be featured? Submit yourself today so we can elevate you and your work.

We also saw some of you at our first roundtable, a safe space to share challenges and experiences around how to show up and be in relationship with members of the media as BIPOC folks working in environmental justice.

If there’s anything that 2021 taught us, it’s that work can feel like we’re swimming upstream. What anchors us is our network of people like you–– from Pueblo territory, to the streets of Detroit, to the halls of COP26.

Reflections: where we’ve been and where we’re going

Looking back on where we’ve been this year as a community has us even more hungry for what’s to come in 2022. That includes a new online directory featuring your expertise and lived experiences to journalists so we can flip the script on who gets the mic in water media. Be on the lookout also for another BIPOC communicators roundtable early next year as well. Our next session is dedicated to how to control your narrative and how to frame your community’s issues.

Your leadership benefits everyone downstream, like families who (hopefully) won’t need to drink from lead pipes, to low- and no-income folks behind on their water bills, to local communities whose traditions and shared stories are tied to the rivers and lakes you work to protect.

Look to us as a resource whether you need a pep talk or coaching before a media interview, a strategy thought partner to brainstorm with, or as an extra set of hands for your next social media campaign. Email us anytime at [email protected].  

Know of other people who’d be interested in joining the Color of Water community? Pass this form along so we can grow together!

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