Water is life-sustaining and life-giving. We use it for cleansing, health, and play. Indigenous communities rightly refer to water as a relative, reminding us that we are deeply connected to water and should treat it with respect, care, and humility.

The WECR Caucus is committed to cultivating a national water equity ecosystem ready to advance anti-racist water systems and a climate resilient future. To do so, we must ensure we are building a culture within the water sector that works from these values. Facts are not enough to persuade people to take action. Science, alone, does not lead to equitable outcomes. Storytelling is necessary to build political will and communicate our vision for water equity and climate justice and to dismantle existing narratives and harmful systems.

Our Narrative Change Workgroup meets monthly to identify and build opportunities for narrative alignment among frontline leaders, equity partners, and movement allies. The group works to integrate creative strategies and culturally and spiritually rooted approaches to enhance and advance Caucus priorities. Participants include Caucus communications experts, storytellers, artists, and culture bearers. Read more about how we are shifting the narrative in the January 2023 issue of Public, a journal from Imagining America.

Monthly calls also develop internal and external communications strategies to support a national narrative shift that:

  • Decommodifies water and reconnect communities to the spiritual and cultural importance of water.
  • Emphasizes the urgency in addressing the disproportionate threats to the water security and climate impacts faced by frontline communities.
  • Connects the domestic discourse to the global demands for water and climate justice.

Water Equity Podcast Series

In 2021, the WECR Caucus partnered with hip hop artist Benny Starr, and cultural organizers Mika Gadsden and Nana Fofie Amina Bashir on a podcast series that highlighted the many voices and perspectives of Caucus leaders. Each episode discussed important water equity and climate resilience issues with experts and advocates. Episodes include lyrics from A Water Album, broken down by Benny in “live liner notes” style, to engage guests in conversation around the pertinent topic and move the audience to action.

Water Policy Curriculum

In 2021, the WECR Caucus’ partnership with Benny Starr also laid out a vision and plan for moving from artistic expression to analysis to political education to public policy. The result: A Water Album Curriculum: Thoughtfully Leveraging Arts & Culture to Inform Policy. This resource pulls from Benny’s experience as an artist navigating institutional spaces and lays out principles and tips for how to thoughtfully engage artists in policy advocacy and equity work. The Caucus is putting much of this into practice, and we hope it can be useful for nonprofits looking to have an artist in residence or collaborate with an artist, or for artists and creatives to leverage as a tool when seeking partnerships with organizations.