Imagine for a moment that you live in a city where you buy your running water from the city. Imagine you use that running water for all your needs. You water the plants with it, you wash your dishes with it, you wash your face with it, you brush your teeth with it, you bathe with it, you cook with it, you clean with it, and you drink it.
It’s not hard for me or most of you to imagine this scenario because it’s what we ALL do. We all rely on our cities to provide us with running water. And, I personally have, until now operated on the assumption that I can (for the most part) trust my city to provide me with (relatively clean) water.
But imagine that you found that water was being poisoned. Imagine that as you went to wash the dishes, or boil a pot of it for pasta, or scrub your children clean at night the water from your faucet flowed brown. Imagine that you complained about this the water company first, then to the local officials, then to the state. But no one believed you, or in fact secretly they knew you were right, but turned a blind eye- because they knowingly chose a water source that was contaminated.
Imagine you did what you could to avoid that water for 2 whole years, but your family couldn’t afford to pay for bottle water, certainly couldn’t afford to bathe on a daily basis with tap water, and even if you did succeed at keeping that water out of your home (by some miracle) that same water poisoned the houses of your neighborhood, the school your children attended, your church.
Unfortunately, what I thought we should never have to imagine as a nation, we do. Because it happened, and it’s STILL happening in Flint, Michigan. Residents have known almost immediately after the change in water sources happened that something was wrong in 2014. And, this story broke on a national scale in November. But, did you know the residents of Flint are STILL using donated bottled water (if they can get access to it?) How are we as a nation allowing corrupt officials wrong decisions to continue to affect this community?
Can you imagine being afraid to use the water flowing from your tap for more than 2 years? Can you imagine having to use bottled water for every single task you need to accomplish each day using running water? We as a nation have been slow to respond, slow to be outraged, and it’s heartbreaking and shocking really.
As I literally packed a little soda can of La Croix for my daughter to drink at school today for her special Valentine’s lunch, there are children in this nation who have been poisoned by their own home’s tap water. They will never reach their full potential because they have been cognitively impaired by a poison that flowed directly from their kitchen sinks. While officials knowingly continued to provide it to them.
If you’re wanting to learn more about the water crisis in Flint, here’s a timeline of what went on there: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/flint-lead-water-crisis-timeline
If you want to sign a petition to demand justice for Flint go here: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/Flint_Snyder
And, if you’re wondering how you can help with the crisis, there’s no better time than #FrontlineFriday. Go here for ways to help: http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/13/us/iyw-flint-michigan-water-crisis-how-to-help/