In Newark, New Jersey, protesters came out to call for action in the face of the city’s mounting water crisis. They demonstrated in front of the Prudential Center, where MTV was hosting its annual Video Music Awards Monday night. Police made several arrests as protesters chanted “We Want Our Water CLEAN! We Don’t Want no MTV!” Earlier in the day, New Jersey officials announced a plan to replace Newark’s pipe system within 24 to 30 months. Essex County will take out a loan to complete the project, which the city of Newark will reportedly have to pay back at a cost of $6.2 million per year over 30 years. Studies show Newark’s water has some of the highest levels of lead contamination in the country.
Meanwhile, inside the awards ceremony, pop star Taylor Swift won Video of the Year for her song “You Need to Calm Down.” The video features cameos from well-known LGBTQ figures and endorses the Equality Act, which, if passed, would amend civil rights laws to explicitly protect LGBTQ people against discrimination. This is Swift accepting her award.
Taylor Swift: “At the end of this video there was a petition, and there still is a petition, for the Equality Act, which basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law. And I want to thank everyone who signed that petition, because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House.”