I think we can all agree that what is happening in Flint, Michigan is a travesty. I just read the following report from MoveOn, a civil action organization that works to empower the people at the grassroots level.
Nine people have died in Flint because of the lead contamination in the water, and nothing is being done about it. People in power positions in the state, mainly the governor, have failed to act, and failed to act when the problem was first brought to their attention. The rest is direct from MoveOn:
Newly obtained internal emails show that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s staff knew last March about a spike in Legionnaires’ disease—which has since killed nine people—in Genesee County, home to Flint. But it wasn’t until last month that the governor first informed the public about the surge in the deadly pneumonia-like disease, which corresponds to the switch of Flint’s drinking water to the Flint River.1
The internal emails show that the governor’s staff stonewalled county officials who were trying to address the “significant and urgent public health issue.”2 This scandal comes in addition to the entire city of Flint being poisoned by lead—a man-made crisis that the governor helped create, then also ignored and concealed.
Flint is a majority Black, majority low-income city, and race is at the heart of this crisis. As Bernie Sanders said during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, “One wonders if this were a white suburban community, what kind of response there would have been.”3
Even now that it’s in the media spotlight and the FBI has joined the criminal investigation, the governor still has yet to replace a single lead pipe in Flint.4
We need to keep the spotlight on what’s happened in Flint—to hold Gov. Snyder accountable and to seek justice for the people of Flint. One way to help is to keep circulating news and analysis about the whole disaster.
The situation in Flint was so bad and so obviously wrong that yellow-colored water even flowed out of faucets in hospitals.5
Yet Flint is run by the state, because Gov. Snyder stripped elected city leaders of their authority several years earlier when he pushed through the state’s emergency management law over the objections of voters. City officials were powerless to act.6
The governor and his administration recklessly ignored, dismissed, and concealed an outbreak of a deadly disease—and then evidence of lead poisoning—month after month after month, all the while telling residents that the water was safe to drink.
And of course, it’s not just Flint. As the national Black Lives Matter Network recently noted, “Black people in America—especially those living in rural and poor areas—have long been denied the same access to clean drinking water and water for bathing and sanitation as everyone else.”7
Read more on Michael Moore’s Website
1. “E-mails: Snyder aide was told of Legionnaires’ in March,” Detroit Free Press, February 4, 2016
3. “Bernie Sanders Wonders Whether Flint’s Water Crisis Would Happen In A White Community,” The Huffington Post, February 4, 2016
4. “FBI joins probe of Flint, Michigan’s lead contaminated water,” Reuters, February 2, 2016
5. “Viral Political Cartoon Exposes the Brutal Segregation of Flint’s Water Crisis,” U.S. Uncut, January 20, 2016
6. “The Flint disaster is Rick Snyder’s fault,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2016
7. “Solidarity Statement with Flint, Michigan,” Black Lives Matter, last accessed February 5, 2016