by Symone Smith ( Junior)
Late last year, the Flint government was found to have poisoned their citizens with lead due to the decision to switch their water pipes to a local river. Flint, Michigan is a small town made up of roughly 100,000 people, mainly of African-American. This small town made the national news in October because of all the people who got sick and were affected by this water switch. Flint’s Governor Rick Snyder has been asked to step down repeatedly because many feel he missed the boat on this one.
In April of 2014 an emergency manager for Flint decided that to cut cost it was best to switch its water source from the Detroit system to the Flint River. Many residents were skeptical of this decision since Flint-based General Motors had once used the river as a dumping ground. A 52-year-old Flint-native, Rhonda Kelso said, “I thought it was one of those Onion articles; we already knew the Flint River was toxic waste.”
Due to this decision everyone who drank the town’s water has been exposed to lead poisoning, children however has been found to be more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults. Lead can also harm those that are not even born yet, women who are pregnant and drank the water now have unborn children exposed to it. The woman who brought this to attention is stay-at-home mom of four, LeeAnne Walters.
She made the connection between the families hair loss, rashes, and severe abdominal pain to the Flint River water switch. She started to investigate the possibilities that the new water supply could be to blame in March of 2015. Walters found out that the Flint River water was more corrosive and harmful than the previous Detroit water. She met with people like Del Toral from a Midwest water division and Marc Edwards, an expert in lead corrosion at Virginia Tech.
Meeting all these people and getting residents to protest their concerns with the water supply, Walters unknowingly made this national news and got Governor Snyder to declare a state of emergency on January 5th and later on Jan. 16, President Obama declared a federal state of emergency. The National Guard flew in to help distribute water bottles to families in need.
When asked how LeeAnne feels about this national attention she shares, ” Every time I get a call from another mother whose child is sick, it doesn’t feel like a victory to me.”