Chicago, IL — Over seventy organizations across Illinois are calling on Governor Pritzker to act immediately to order a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs for nonpayment; require immediate restoration of water service to all homes previously disconnected for nonpayment; and waive all late fees, fines, penalties, service restoration fees, and water rate increases until at least 180 days following the end of the COVID-19 emergency.
“We hear the message everywhere: wash your hands. But how can we expect everyone to do so when municipalities charge exorbitant amounts for water service or shut off water during the COVID-19 crisis?” said Maxwell Wright (he/him), leader with Food & Water Watch. “To deprive people of that defense is outright inhumane. As countless numbers of people are losing their jobs during this crisis, forcing people to financially choose between water services and other necessities is merely making way for a public health nightmare. The pandemic is making it all the more clear: Public health depends on universal water access.”
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through the globe we have watched the virus completely devastate working class communities of color,” said Kina Collins (she/her) with Community Cares IL. “As these communities grapple with the continued uncertainty of what this virus brings, what they should not have to worry about is the fear of being evicted from their homes, food scarcity, or having access to clean running water. That's why the partner organizations that form Community Cares IL are asking Governor Pritzker to follow the lead of Michigan and Ohio in mandating water reconnection. Illinoisans are known for our resilience and we do not believe in a politics of leaving people behind. Governor Prizker, we demand that all of Illinois has access to water."
"Water is a basic human right and residents in our state are receiving no water debt relief for the COVID-19 crisis as they already face increasing rates,” said Ab Weeks (they/them), Lead Organizer for Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation. “These rates are disproportionately affecting black and brown communities in Chicago. In Chicagoland, predominantly black communities are paying 20% more for the same amount of water as predominantly white communities. Residents are deciding between paying their water bill or their groceries or their rent. If we are being told to stay home and wash our hands, then the state needs to be providing water to do that."
"Ensuring a moratorium on water supply needs to be a top priority,” said Maureen Keane (she/her), Co-Founder of She Votes Illinois. “Water shutoffs will undoubtedly exacerbate medical issues as well as mental health issues for our already most vulnerable populations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and women — because they are primary caretakers of children and elderly parents — will bear the brunt of this avoidable crisis. We must establish the basic right to clean water in Illinois and determine a pathway to affordable water for everyone."
“Governor Pritzker’s bold, prudent decision making in the interest of public health has benefited the people of Illinois in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ben Gould (he/him) with the United Nations Association of Chicago. “It’s in that same spirit that we call on Governor Pritzker to ensure that no person goes without the human right of clean, accessible water, especially during a public health crisis, where having clean water is necessary to comply with public health guidelines.”
Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold & uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of most economic interests.
Community Cares IL: We are a group of community organizers dedicated to making a positive connection and impact in the lives of residents in Illinois District 7 and Chicago's western suburbs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) assists low-income people of color in the Chicago Southland to build power, then subsequently leverage that power to fight for their own interest and liberation.
She Votes Illinois: She Votes Illinois is a statewide political action committee aimed at highlighting the importance of women’s voices in elections, government, and policymaking. Our work focuses on three things: voting, education, and getting more women involved in politics. We are a grassroots team of Illinois women working to engage a new wave of voters, community members, activists, and politicians. We are fighting for a state where all women experience justice, equity, and political representation.
The United Nations Association of the United States of America is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. For 70 years, UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission through its national network of Chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs, and public events.
Food & Water Action
National Nurses United
Jane Addams Senior Caucus
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Action Center on Race and the Economy
Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Rising Tide Chicago
Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility
Chicago Jobs with Justice
Warehouse Workers for Justice
Chicago Democratic Socialists
She Votes Illinois
Advocates for Urban Agriculture
Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Nuclear Energy Information Service
United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous People
Climate Reality Project Chicago
Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of IL
Chicago Area Peace Action
La Colina Linda
A Just Harvest
Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin Social Justice Team
Autonomous Tenants Union
Graduate Employees Organization 6297
Greater Highland Area Concerned Citizens
Indivisible Oak Park Area
Shawnee Forest Sentinels
United Nations Association of Greater Chicago
Community Cares Illinois
Western Front Indivisible
Northside Action for Justice
No Ameren Shutoffs