If Water is Life, the State of Michigan Must Restore Delivery to Flint
(Michigan) Black Lives Matter Michigan stands with our friends and family in Flint in the ongoing fight for safe and clean drinking water. So many people and organizations around the nation have stepped up where Governor Snyder and his administration have fallen ridiculously short in repairing the harm they caused during the state's emergency management of Flint. The State of Michigan owes Flint residents the dedication to deliver bottled water until pipes are replaced, trust is rebuilt and people have confidence that their drinking water is no longer poisoned.
The delayed response from Governor Snyder and his administration when residents cried out for help, the deaths from Legionnaires disease, and the children and other vulnerable people who will likely suffer long-term health consequences from lead poisoning all provide ample evidence why the State of Michigan should be ashamed to even consider closing water delivery pods. In fact, delivery should be made to each and every home that has yet to have the lead lines replaced all the way to the sink.
“Denying access to safe and affordable drinking water is an act of cruelty,” said Angela Waters Austin, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Lansing and Black Lives Matter Michigan. “The residents of Flint deserve better. Michigan deserves better. If one community can be treated so inhumanely, why should any community believe they could not potentially suffer a similar fate? What further evidence do Michigan residents need that Gov. Snyder cares more about corporate interests than people when the ink has barely had time to dry on a deal with Nestle signed off by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to increase the amount of water extracted from Michigan’s Great Lakes Basin for the sake of profit? Is Nestle going to provide free bottled water to Flint, Detroit and other cities where access to safe and affordable drinking water is denied?”
The State of Michigan has been negligent to the point of criminality with charges filed against several individuals. Understanding the connection between the Emergency Manager Law and the Flint water disaster is crucial. In 2012, Michigan voters repealed the Emergency Manager Law, which on its face and on every side is a violation of US Constitutional equal protection that has targeted communities in Michigan with higher Black populations. Within months of the people’s vote, Governor Snyder signed into law replacement legislation including an appropriation that makes the law immune to referendum.
“Michigan Voice stands in solidarity with communities impacted by the Emergency Manager Law implemented by Governor Rick Snyder and his administration. From Flint to Detroit and across the state, communities have been harmed by this legislation. Flint, Michigan has been dealing with an ongoing Water Crisis for almost four years. People in Flint still do not have access to safe, quality drinking water. The Water Distribution (pods) sites must remain open and functioning until all lead lines and other damaged infrastructure is replaced. Flint is still fighting for clean water. Water is life, and people cannot live without water. We stand in solidarity to call on the state of Michigan (MDEQ) to continue the Water Distribution sites in Flint, Michigan,” said Jia Ireland, Flint resident and Michigan Voice Regional Field Coordinator.
It was an emergency manager who made the decision to switch Flint’s water to a source that resulted in lead poisoning from pipes corroded due to lack of proper treatment. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality that has increased Nestle’s extraction of water is the same department that attempted to cover up the Flint water disaster. So far, fifteen people have been charged in a criminal investigation including charges of involuntary manslaughter against the two emergency managers overseeing Flint as well as officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Municipalities and/or school districts who have had or still have emergency managers: Flint, Detroit, Benton Harbor, Highland Park, Pontiac, Muskegon Heights, Inkster, Ecorse, River Rouge, Royal Oak Township, Hamtramck, Allen Park, and Lincoln Park.
Black Lives Matter Michigan is a partnership between Black Lives Matter Lansing, an official chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Michigan Voice, a nonpartisan collaborative that builds community capacity to exercise their collective power to impact the decisions that shape our local, state and federal governments.