Two Broward residents travel to Flint, Mich. to cover the water crisis
Flint, Michigan in 1936.
Nancy Metayer and (r) Tifanny Burks in Flint Michigan.
By Nancy Metayer and Tifanny Burks, Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward
Once a flourishing community, home to GM Motors and the hub of the automobile industry, Flint, MI was once provided the best schools, healthcare, and assistance programs. Now residents, refer to Flint as “living in a third world country” or a “war zone”. Flint, MI resembles nothing it once was.
The water crisis first emerged in April 2014 when the city switched their water supply from Detroit to the Flint River in an effort to save money. At an initial glance, switching water supply does not seem like a big deal. However, Flint River had been the source of contamination at an astronomical level for over a century. According to The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), processing is required in order to bring water to a level that is safe to consume. When making the switch the city failed to take proactive measures to treat the water which would’ve cost only $100 a day.
So let’s fast forward to 3 years after this crisis first emerged. Tifanny Burks and Nancy Metayer decided to travel to Flint to bring awareness to the fact that these careless acts in Flint, Michigan were a result of putting money over citizens and this matter is still occurring. three years after this crisis, corrupted politicians are advocating Flint water is safe to drink but residents still continue to bathe, cook and drink with bottled water or use filters that don’t work.
As guest in Flint, MI we were advised if we had the courage to bathe with Flint water we were to “turn on the cold water, let it run for about 3-5 minutes, jump in and out, but don’t spend more than 10 minutes in the shower.” This particular resident shared her scars, fear of over exposure and the effects on her unborn child. Lead, bacteria and trihalomethane are just a few items residents worry about before ad-dressing basic living conditions.
Contaminated drinking water affects every aspect of these citizens’ day to day operations. Children have to transport bottled water to school to drink and personal hygiene. We carried bottled with us literally everywhere we went. Citizens who had aspirations to grow fresh produce in the midst of a food desert are discouraged. Local Health providers are apprehensive about the long term effects on children and the list goes on and on.
Today, 57% of Flint’s population is African American, a-bout 40% of the residents live below the poverty line and the medium household income is $24,000 according to the Census Bureau. This water crisis would not have happened in a wealthy town like Bloomfield Hills that is 45 minutes away from Flint with a 90% White Population and $205,000 medium household income. Flint, Michigan is a text-book example of environmental racism, which is a discrimination of people of low-income or minority com-munities who are forced to live in close proximity to toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.