“We will never stop fighting for justice”: leaders comment at water crisis fifth anniversary

Here are comments compiled from Dan Kildee, Mayor Karen Weaver, Jim Ananich, and Sheldon Neeley, provided by each of their offices:

Water donations at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, January 2016

Statement by Congressman Dan Kildee on Fifth Anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis

FLINT—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement marking the five-year anniversary of the Flint water crisis:

 “Five years after this man-made public health crisis began, Flint families still do not trust the water coming out of their taps. In the richest country in the world, every family should have access to clean and affordable drinking water.

“While I am proud that Congress passed a $170 million aid package for Flint to help remove lead pipes and expand health care for families exposed to high levels of lead, more must be done to ensure that Flint recovers from this man-made crisis.  

“I am pleased that Michigan’s new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has made Flint’s recovery a priority, a stark difference from the last administration that created this crisis. I will continue to work with the Governor to get real relief and support to Flint families, including bottled water service until every lead pipe is replaced.

“What happened to Flint is not an anomaly. Rather, what happened to Flint is a warning to other communities across America. We must get serious about improving America’s aging water infrastructure and make significant improvements in communities like Flint so that a similar crisis never happens again.”

Water giveaways, February 2016

Open Letter to Residents on the Fifth Anniversary of the Water Crisis From Mayor Karen Weaver

Dear Residents:

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis.  I write this as not only the Mayor of this strong city but also, as a fellow resident, who was affected by this environmental injustice. We have had plenty of time to question and wonder why human life, more specifically our lives, could be held at such a low regard.  We have gone through every emotion possible when something like this happens; the anger, the confusion, the devastation, the fear of the unknown, are all things we’ve felt as a collective.

One thing is for certain, we were strong, revolutionary fighters for justice and equality before this and in going through this, our resilience and grit have only gotten stronger.  As a result of this, the country got to see just how far we still have to go as it relates to not only dealing with racism and classism, but our crisis placed a huge spotlight on the need for newer infrastructure and stronger environmental protections.

We came together during one of the hardest times many of us have ever faced and we spoke out as one. Our grassroots groups, Pastors, faith communities, and everyday residents did not sit silently and accept what had taken place and as a result of the collective voice of Flint residents, the world stopped and paid attention. Just as we have changed the structure of systems before by using our voices, we are doing so now. The State of Michigan has changed the way that it addresses lead and copper because of us. The country is having a long overdue conversation and push toward change as it relates to infrastructure and water because of us.

We would not wish what happened to us on anyone, we took what happened to us and turned it into an opportunity to make sure that this would not happen on this level ever again anywhere in the country, and where there are other water and infrastructure related injustices, we take them with us as we speak out.

While we may not be completely through this crisis just yet, we are recovering and we are recovering in a way that only Flintstones can. Our voices caused national attention that brought resources here to replace the lead and galvanized service lines; with 21, 298 lines excavated, we are ahead of schedule and due to complete the replacement process by the fall. Our voices caused us to have economic opportunities leading to 2,000 jobs in our city. Our voices caused the philanthropic community to come to our aid, as a result, our children now have access to technology that they may not have gotten any other way. Our voices got the attention of the federal government, as a result, we have housing being built on both the north and the south end.  We will continue to use those same voices to address our in home plumbing and fixtures needs, to continue addressing the mental health needs of ALL residents who were affected by this trauma. We will use our voices to continue on the path to being made whole.

On this day, the 5th anniversary of an avoidable traumatic experience,the flags at Flint City Hall will fly at half-staff.  We will not forget what happened here, nor will we allow the country to forget.

I want to remind all of the residents of this great city that we are stronger together because of what we have been through. That we are moving forward and there is a spirit of hope in this city that we have been missing for quite some time. That hope is helping us to heal.

Your Fellow Flintstone and Mayor,

Dr. Karen W. Weaver

Making a point in February, 2016 (Photo by Nic Custer)

State Sen. Ananich on Fifth Anniversary of Flint Water Crisis

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) issued the following statement marking five years since the beginning of the Flint water crisis:

“Five years ago, a lever was pulled and the lives of the people in my city were forever changed. The true grit and determination of a community shines brightest once the spotlights are turned off and the sensationalism dies down. Flint is full of real, everyday heroes who have experienced the worst but stayed the course to fight for the justice they deserve. I am inspired by my community’s strength. We will never stop fighting for justice.”

State Rep. Sheldon Neeley on Flint Water Crisis Anniversary:

LANSING —This week marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the Flint water crisis when Flint’s water source was switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River leading to lead poisoning and a Legionnaires outbreak. State Rep. Sheldon Neeley (D-Flint) first called for an investigation into the crisis shortly after taking office in 2015 and has introduced legislation each session to provide funding and resourcesto the city to address the crisis.  In honor of today’s anniversary, Rep. Neeley issued the following statement:

“Five years ago, our community was forever changed. The water crisis challenged our faith – in ourselves, in our leaders, and in things we never thought we should question: the very safety of our water. We have come a long way since 2014, not because it was easy, but because we are fighters.

But I want more for our community than to fight; I want us to thrive. Even though the television cameras have gone home and many have chosen to forget what happened, we have not.

I am proud of the work we have done to begin the process of healing our community, but there is still more left to do. I will continue to fight to see Flint made whole and to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again.”

–compiled by EVM Staff

Banner photo by Nic Custer.

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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