Thank you to the Redford Connection for asking me to write an article this month on my radio show & giving a platform to the Flint Water Crisis that is still not fixed 4 years & 5 months later.
In November of 2015 I launched my radio show, The Offensive Feminist with Jenny K on Cave Radio Broadcasting. This happened to coincide with the public disclosure of lead found in the water of Flint, a story which I followed for all 100 episodes before going on hiatus in January of this year. As I followed the news on the breaking Flint Water Crisis, I noticed discrepancies and contradictory information being shared in the news.
In early 2016 I reached out to organizations in Flint and began lending my support in the form of canvassing across the city gathering information on residents needing support and resources from the local non-profits on the ground doing the work that the State of Michigan should have been. After following the news for months and being on the ground in Flint, I decided to expand the show to include video shorts and decided that the Flint Water Crisis would be my first topic. My initial thought was of creating a 10-15 minute video on what was happening. At the time I was finishing my degree in Political Science Public Affairs from Wayne State University, and that coupled with my background in finance led my natural curiosity as a researcher to the Karegnondi Water Authority’s (KWA) engineering documents presented to the city in 2009 and the bond documents signed off on by the State Treasurer sealing the fate of the people of Flint.
The Flint Water Crisis is both a crime against humanity and a financial crime. The public record confirms this, in 4 key documents of the 2009 KWA Engineering Report, the 2011 report on the Flint River commissioned by then-Mayor Dayne Walling, the 2013 report commissioned by the State of Michigan which references the prior two important documents, and even in the 2014 KWA bond documents. Further public documentation of released emails, news articles from those time frames, and other public documents created by Flint’s emergency managers show that all decision makers were aware of the difference between raw and treated water, that the Flint Water Treatment Plant did not have the necessary equipment to properly treat water to public health standards, and that an investment of $7 million was the minimum needed to upgrade the water plant.
After reviewing hundreds of news articles, documents and emails, and spending six months diving into this research, my initial idea of a 10-15 minute video turned into an hour-long documentary on this research. Finished in June of 2016, it can be found on the YouTube channel of The Offensive Feminist with Jenny K along with links to a Google Drive holding all source documents. In February of 2017, I printed the full 4-key documents and hand-delivered those along with a 28-page annotated timeline from 2009-2015 of the Flint Water Crisis to every current sitting State Senator and State Representative in Michigan. I also delivered the same information to local news outlets like the Detroit News, Free Press, Channels 2, 4, and 7, and other outlets in Flint and Lansing.
Members of both the Democrat and Republican parties caused the Flint Water Crisis, and the culpability lies on the State of Michigan. It has now been 4 years and 5 months since the people of Flint were knowingly poisoned by their elected officials, and still today they don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. To add further insult to injury, residents are also being threatened with the loss of their homes and children by using civil disobedience of non-payment of water bills until all the pipes are fixed, and are now being forced to pay for their own bottled water as the state has now stopped providing any sources of clean drinking water.
The crisis is not over, and should not be out of our minds or our hearts until our neighbors in Flint are made whole. It is our moral duty as residents of Michigan to speak up and demand that Flint be fixed, because the problem of lead in our infrastructure and lead poisoning is a state-wide issue that the children of Redford are not free from either.