Valerie Jean is with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, a partner of the  Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival .

Valerie Jean is with the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, a partner of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Valerie Jean Blakely

Detroit, MI

I live on the North end of Detroit, I live in a neighborhood were two guys in a truck, came and shut everybody's water off, all in one day in a 45 minute period, three blocks.  And that was happening all over.  For me, when I first got started three years ago, when they were coming, it was about telling my personal story, what had happened in my neighborhood and what we were doing.  And then to see a national call for us all to do it is nothing short of amazing. And not only is it historic, not only does it have deep roots in what MLK kind of fought for, but it also makes a difference to my community that can't afford water.  So it's all the way around.   And so many other communities.  It’s so much bigger than us at this point. It's reached this ... you know?  Yeah.  (She stops on the verge of tears)

At the end of the 40 days we will have mobilized an entire nation.  That's the question, where are we going from there?  In Michigan, it means demanding our right to clean, affordable water to clean, to affordable housing, to the healthcare and all of these things.  And people are stepping up to do direct action that never had even thought about it.  It hadn't even ever entered their mind.  And now they're like sprung (laughs).  They're like, we're there!  You can't go anywhere, but everywhere with that.  People are ready. It's been really amazing.  

So this is growing?  

It's growing.  And where we go from here, it's up to us to decide.  We gotta call in the whole nation.