Editor’s Note: The People’s Tribune received these notes from the Flint water front. Please send your stories, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org/
FLINT, MI — While Congress and State officials continue to hold meetings, hearings and investigations, Flint residents still live their lives using bottled water and sink filters while coping with health challenges. The struggle continues for us.
Recent grass roots mobilizations, lobbying and phone banking, resulted in passage of a multi-million dollar package to begin any serious effort to replace the pipes still tied to the toxic water. No such mobilizations were needed when General Motors sounded the alarm about Flint water rusting their engine parts back in 2014, six months after the switch to Flint River water. The resolution to GM’s issues was swift and sure. The people in Flint have lived with this over 2 ½ years and still do.
Meanwhile, a recent letter from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to Governor Snyder warns that much more needs to be done to avert future crisis. The letter expressed concerns about the “city’s capacity to add chlorine and caustic to maintain residual chlorine levels and optimal pH for corrosion control,” for the long term. These failures generated the lead disaster and the Legionella outbreak gripping the city of Flint today. The letter underscored the need for additional personnel, updated equipment and additional resources (AKA money). The letter mentioned the fact that Flint water rates are among the highest in the country. The EPA confirmed what water activists have charged all along.
As we go to press, water warrior activists Gertrude Marshall was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery and attempted assault and battery. She and other activists protested last October at Flint Farmers Market—a facility stolen from the people of Flint by the Emergency Manager given to corporate investor Uptown. Ms. Marshall was accosted at the market when a man (later identified as a security guard) snatched her bullhorn out of her hands. In an effort to retrieve it, an altercation ensued. Michigan activists in pursuit of clean, affordable water and democracy continue to face persecution: Reverend Edward (See Page 12), Eric Mays, Detroit’s Homrich 9, and now, Gertrude Marshall.
The struggle continues here in Flint and across Michigan. We demand disaster relief status from the Federal government to replace all the lead pipes. We demand Medicare for all regardless of age to confront this enormous public health disaster. Finally, we demand an end to dictatorship under the Emergency Manager system with the restoration and expansion of democracy in Flint and all other Michigan communities.