Since 2018, the Newark Water Coalition has worked to expose the environmental racism at the heart of the city’s water crisis. Though initially, they distributed bottled water to residents, they soon partnered with the nonprofit 501CTHREE to bring a Flint solution to Newark. The Water Box was designed as “a bridge solution to when systemic change needs to occur,” says co-founder Drew Fitzgerald. (The other founder is musician Jaden Smith.)
These portable filtration systems filter out lead and other contaminants from tap water; each unit produces 10 gallons of clean water a minute. In the early months of the Water Box, the coalition quadrupled its capacity of filtered water distribution, according to coalition co-founder Anthony Diaz. With four Water Boxes in operation, Diaz expected the Newark Water Coalition to distribute 4,000 gallons per month. “This is community,” he says.