After two long years, the residents of Flint, Michigan have finally been heard by national media outlets that have reported on the catastrophic impacts the lead contaminated water has had on Flint’s children, adults, and the infrastructure of the city as a whole. As a result of the outcry, organizations, celebrities, athletes, and everyday ordinary citizens have come together to help the residents of Flint, by sending cases of bottled water and other supplies to be distributed to those in need. While the donations that are pouring in are no doubt life-saving tools (in a literal sense), everyone knows that the distribution of bottled water is not a sustainable solution to such a major problem. While emergency funds have been disbursed to the State of Michigan by the Federal Government for the replacement of corroded pipes that continue to contaminate and poison the drinking water, the current Governor, Rick Snyder has yet to release details as when the replacement of the pipes will take place. Currently the Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver has expressed her desire to start replacing the pipes expeditiously and had even considered asking celebrities for the capital to help do so if the Governor continues to drag his feet.
While political battles are ensuing, residents of Flint continue to suffer. Recently, the city has threatened to shut off water to residents for unpaid water bills. Flint residents are paying the highest water bills in the country for contaminated water that technically can only serve one basic need, flushing one’s toilet daily. Otherwise, the water flowing from the tap, despite water filters simply isn’t safe and shouldn’t be trusted until all pipe replacements have been made.
The Governor’s failure to pursue this issue with urgency compliments his long list of failures in regards to the Flint Water Crisis. He appointed a city manager against the desire and recall of the city’s residents, he willingly ignored complaints and concerns brought to him by his staff which an outbreak of Legionnaires disease hit the city in 2014, and most importantly, he has failed to take any responsibility for the oversight that has taken place by his office and others, and has instead sought to point fingers and place the blame elsewhere. Well the citizens of the state of Michigan aren’t buying and as of yesterday, Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers approved a Snyder recall petition over the Flint water crisis; however state law requires the collection of about 790,000 valid signatures in a 60-day period, in order to get the recall question placed on the ballot.
The Flint Water Crisis is not just an environmental problem that was overlooked, this crisis is a social injustice that has claimed the lives of some and has detrimentally impacted the lives of others. It has destroyed trust in public officials and lead to the emotional distress families feel for their children who may need medical assistance for the rest of their lives. This crisis goes beyond civil remedies into the need for criminal prosecution. The ignorance and willful blindness of city and state officials are not simple negligence, it is a reckless disregard for human life, which requires a punishment far beyond the loss of a job and a title. Please continue to pursue this issue through all means available. Flint residents, get out and canvass, get the signatures necessary to recall Governor Snyder, and everyone please continue to donate at http://100kcasesforflint.us.