Human Rights Activist and Co-founder, We The People of Detroit
Monica Lewis-Patrick (aka The Water Warrior)is a mother, educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. She is co-founder of We The People of Detroitand has served as their Director of Community Outreach & Engagement since 2009. She was unanimously elected by the Board to become their President & CEO in 2014.
As one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Detroit and beyond, she presented before the United Nations Secretary- General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation-DESA alongside several other national and international leaders in the global water crisis. She is the visionary, co-designer and co-author of the current We The People of Detroit: Community Research Collective that published and released “Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African-American Neighborhoods in Detroit” (August 2016)as volume one of a three-part series documenting the effects of austerity and its relationship to race in Detroit. We The People of Detroit co-hosted the United Nations Rapporteurs on Water/Sanitation and Housing in Detroit in October 2014 to challenge the Human Right to Clean, Safe and Affordable Water which was being denied to Detroit residents.
Lewis-Patrick and her organization have won numerous awards including: River Heroes 2019 (River Network), Freshwater Future Hero 2018 (Freshwater Futures), United Nations/ Detroit Chapter- Humanitarian Award 2018, Michigan League of Conservation Voters- Advocates of the Year 2018. They have been featured on several radio and television programs; such as, “Wake Up Detroit”, “The Roland Martin Show – TV One”, MSNBC News. Newspapers and magazine articles range from EBONY to The Washington Post, Guardian Magazine, and The Hindustan Times, among others.
She is an active member of the People’s Water Board Coalition, US Human Rights Network, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), HOW (Healing Our Waters)/ Equity Advisory Action WeCouncil, PolicyLink-WERC, Flint Strong Stones (Co-founder), Freshwater Futures/All About Water (Advisory Committee), Lead and Copper Rule Advisory Group at University of Michigan/ Ann Arbor- Water Center, The Nature Conservancy and Michigan State University Water Fellow 2019, Michigan Water Table: PFAS Workshop, Michigan Water Unity Table, Water Affordability- Flint/ Mayor Karen Weaver, Detroit Equity Action Lab (Fellow 2016), Michigan Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease Center- StakeholderAdvisory Group. Acknowledging her expansive leadership, in 2015 she was named to the World Water Justice Council.
Patrick-Lewis is actively engaged in every struggle on behalf of Detroit residents. As a former Lead Legislative Policy Analyst for Detroit City Council under the mentorship of former City Councilwoman, the Honorable JoAnn Watson, Monica authored legislation, conducted research and delivered constituency services to tens of thousands of Detroit residents.
Lewis-Patrick attended the historic Bennett College and is a graduate of East Tennessee State University where she earned a Bachelors of General Studies degree in Social Work and Sociology as well as a Masters of Arts of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in Criminal Justice/Sociology and Public Management. She was a Ron McNair Scholar.