On November 14, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history and Michigan Science Center launched the Ripple of Impact: Museum Stormwater Initiative. Guided by research showing that museums are trusted spaces for learning and conversation, the event brought together diverse perspectives on water access and stewardship in Detroit.
The Museum Stormwater Initiative centers around the development of green stormwater infrastructure projects that prevent pollution to the Detroit River, beautify the cultural campus, and teach students and visitors about land and water. In addition to tours of the newly-renovated bioswale and urban gardens, the event featured rain barrel painting, exhibits that showcased the science and culture of water, and a performance by local poet Tawana Petty.
Read Tawana’s poem below and view pictures of the event in the attached gallery.
HYDRATION – Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty
Song intro: I hale from a city where the water is off. Forty-five from Flintstones, where they picking us off. They thought they had us cornered, but they pissed us off. Now we done come together, who would have thought? (Repeat)
I witnessed her soul,
away from her body.
Denial pursed tightly upon her lips,
she fixed her face to tell me
she wasn’t thirsty.
That her babies
weren’t 30 days away
from being ripped from her custody.
I could sense deception in her teardrops,
she was lying to me, about water,
fibbing to keep her babies near.
She almost let me leave them
And I wanted to hug her,
but I knew that her pride
was the only ounce of protection
she had left to muster.
Barely hanging on,
as if the reaper
had granted her another chance,
if she could just pull herself together.
Why do folks gotta beg for water?
Hiding behind scarlet letters,
to mark their negligence.
I wondered what she thought of me,
with the fate of her family
stuffed inside my trunk.
I left three gallons of water,
and walked away.
There’d be ten more mothers,
for me to hydrate that day.
Song outro (slowed down): I hale from a city where the water is off. Forty-five from Flintstones where they picking us off. They thought they had us cornered, but they pissed us off. Now we done come together, who would have thought?