There are some things that we should be able to depend on in America like opportunity, freedom and CLEAN WATER. The latter seems so simple to provide, I mean we have a whole division of city government in most American cities dedicated to providing clean water to the citizens of the United States. When you study geography you realize that most of the early civilizations were established either right next to a source of water or within a short distance of a water source. They understood how important water was to the human body and the maintenance of the body. Water is so important that the human body can survive only 3 days max without water. Imagine paying your water bill and not being able to get clean water from the faucet, imagine not being able to shower or bathe because the water gives you legions on the skin or having to regulate the water you use during the day because you have to go buy more from the store the next day. It seems almost apocalyptic to most of America but this is real for the residents of Flint Michigan and Flint is not the only city with water issues. Atlanta, Albuquerque, San Francisco and Fresno are all cities that have substandard water systems.
A short history
Flint, Michigan is located along the Flint River. The 2010 Census Bureau puts the population at 102,434, making Flint the seventh largest city in Michigan. The African American population is between 52 -56%
Flint has a history of racial discrimination and tension. From the start of the 20th century, African Americans came to Flint, as migrants looking for work in the factories. However, for much of this time General Motors did not hire African Americans to assembly positions, and they were excluded from affluent neighborhoods like the East Village through housing compacts. The city diversified as a whole, and by the 1990s African Americans formed a population majority by the 2000 census. Mexican Americans remain a small but demographically significant population within Flint.
The North Side and 5th Ward are predominantly African American, with such historic districts as Buick City and Civic Park on the north, and Sugar Hill, Floral Park, and Kent and Elm Parks on the south. The South Side in particular was also a center for multi-racial migration from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Deep South since World War II. These neighborhoods are most often lower income, but have maintained some level of economic diversity.
Talk to any 70s baby raised in the 80s and they will boast of the famous people that come from Flint like Jazz great Betty Carter or the Dayton Family, Ready For The World, and MC Breed. Some young 20something may tell you that Dizzy Wright or Fredwreck is from Flint.
The water problem
Large amounts of lead have been found in Flint’s municipal water supply for at least a year. The Flint River is quite dirty and to get water from Flint River supply is expensive so for many years Flint has gotten its water from Detroit. In 2013 the city began getting its water from the Flint River but Flint residents have been complaining about odd-colored water months after the city began drawing its supply from the Flint River rather than stay with the Detroit system, which draws from Lake Huron. The city of Flint, Michigan, will return to Detroit’s water system because of these concerns. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will ask the legislature to provide $6 million to cover the $12 million cost to reconnect Flint to Detroit’s water system. Studies show that the percentage of Flint children with elevated lead levels nearly doubled after the city stopped using the Detroit water system. Due to the high levels of lead Flint Public Schools turned off their taps and water fountains for students in September.
A study published online in September 2015 by Virginia Tech researchers found that water from the Flint River was highly corrosive to lead piping, releasing over 10 times more lead into the city’s taps than the previous water supply. In November of 2015 Flint citizens filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of victims of high levels of lead against Snyder, the state of Michigan, the city of Flint and other state and city officials. The health effects listed in the class-action suit include: skin lesions, hair loss, high levels of lead in the blood, vision loss, memory loss, depression and anxiety. Citizens allege in court documents that they suffered property damage because of the corrosive water, loss of value in their home, skin legions and “psychological disorders such as depression, chronic anxiety and an inability to cope with normal stress.” These conditions were the result of bathing, washing and normal household activities. The crisis could affect the city for years. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says that more funding will be needed for special education services because lead “can cause effects to a child’s IQ, which results in learning disabilities.” The mayor also said that more funding will be needed for mental health services, and that there would be a greater need for adoptive and foster parents “as a result of social services needed due to the detrimental effects of the high blood lead levels.”
For many decades the economic state of Michigan and the Midwest was indicative of the state of the American economy. General Motors was the biggest and best company that America had to offer. GM fell way off in the 80s due to the quality being compromised in an effort to keep up with foreign vehicles that were smaller, better on gas and more cost effective. The big American cars began to look like dinosaurs to the consumers. With the decline in sales of American car sales there were a lot of Midwestern cities that began to crumble. The water crisis is a symptom of urban decay that will not end in Flint, America and Americans need to wake up and see what’s going on.
HERE ARE A FEW WAYS THAT YOU CAN HELP FLINT RESIDENTS.
*THE FOLLOWING WATER RESOURCE SITES ARE OPEN DAILY FROM 9 AM – 9 PM FOR FLINT RESIDENTS
FREE BOTTLED WATER | FREE WATER FILTERS | FREE TESTING KITS | REPLACEMENT CARTRIDGES
Fire Station #1
310 East 5th St.
Flint, MI 48502
Fire Station #3
1525 Martin Luther King Ave.
Flint, MI 48503
Fire Station #5
3402 Western Road
Flint, MI 48506
Fire Station #6
716 West Pierson Road
Flint, MI 48505
Fire Station #8
202 East Atherton Road
Flint, MI 48507