A New Urban Educational Agenda to Avert the Eradication of Communities of Color— Flint Water Crisis

A New Urban Educational Agenda to Avert the Eradication of Communities of Color— Flint Water Crisis

The Tragedy of Flint. The Power of the People is Inherent in the Constitution

By Adourthus Mc Dowell | Originally Published at EmpathyEducates. May 18, 2016 | Photographic credit; BlackOut for Human Rights

The Case of the People of Flint vs. The State of Michigan

President Obama has declared Flint a disaster area. How do we discern what justice looks like, and is the water safe?

Residents are gunning for the Snyder Administration to be held partially, if not totally to account. As was summarized at a February 2016 Congressional hearing by Elijah Cummings: “

[B]y failing to order anti-corrosion treatment of the water, and for telling residents to run, or pre flush their taps before samples were taken.”

This created misleadingly low lead readings, which undercut all public alarm, and created the illusion that the water was safe.

For a governor to have turned a blind eye to the poisoning of the children of Flint, rises to the level of high crimes against humanity. Knowing that the water from the Flint River wasn’t even fit to be used in the manufacturing of automobiles by General Motors, the question is under whose authority were the children given poisonous water? Where were the Army Corps of Engineers Mr. President?

According to CNN (5/4/2016), The faces of the Flint water crisis
There are approximately 650 disinfected products that have not been studied related to the water system, and pipeline infrastructure needing to be addressed immediately in Flint. What will be the consequential home values? While residents can’t access water from their home for drinking, cooking, bathing, or essential other purposes.

The complete decimation of Flint first by Corporate America, General Motors, the Auto Industry, Wall Street, then the Great Recession of 2008, and now the New Takeover State Government. Which had also taken over the schools.

But help is on the way: Congressional Hearing (February 2016)
With $55 million in State help. $100 million in Federal help if Congress can approve it, and $55 million in Health Care Cost.

According to ABC News May 7, 2016: Sticker Shock of Fixing Flint’s Lead Problem Hints at Colossal Price Tag for US-Wide Remedy

  • 20, 000 pipes that would need replacing at an estimated cost of $3,000 a piece for a 40 foot lead pipe that doesn’t include the repaving of the streets and sidewalks.
  • Total cost $60 million over 15 years.
  • $55 million to remove lead pipes.
  • $128 million in emergency aid legislation
  • $ 67 million has already been approved by Flint city and Michigan State Legislatures.

Did the top state elected official (Governor Snyder) know about this, and when did he know it, and is he accountable?

So far, the Michigan Department of State Environmental Quality (MDSEQ) and a Flint Manager have been charged.

New York Times April 21, 2016: Flint Water Crisis Yields First Criminal Charges
“The charges are linked both to the handling of a change in the city’s water supply two years ago, and to the aftermath of that change including a failure to add chemicals that lessen corrosion inside pipes. The resulting problems led to Flint residents exposure to water contaminated with lead, and possibly linked to a deadly outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.”

What about the price tag for the poisoning of children?

Then the Conspiracy to tamper with evidence?

Why Congress still isn’t helping Flint CBS News May 4, 2016
“The In January 2014, according to the Congressional Record, the residents of Flint are told by the state of Michigan, that the water is “perfectly safe.”

Closing the valve on history: Flint cuts water flow from Detroit after nearly 50 years
April 2014, the water supply is switched from the Detroit to the Flint water supply system. Residents began to complain.

General Motors shutting off Flint River water at engine plant over corrosion worries
October 2014, General Motors complains/refuses to use the Flint water. Outside researchers began to conduct their own tests of water quality from the Flint river, and blood samples are drawn from children.

Between October 2014, and January 2016, dozens, if not hundreds of communications later, the response of the state is: “The anti – everything group that complains”. (The New York Times January 20 2016)

The Power of the People

Again the Detroit Free Press The State’s response January 17, 2016:
“The water being put out meets all of our drinking water standards, and Flint water is safe to drink.”

Looks like a case in the Blundering of Social Misery

If the water is safe, then why was it necessary to boil it?

The Urban Mental Health Crisis, Communities of Color have been battling for decades, has just ushered in whole new generations of critical Mental Health Services for our poisoned children of Flint. The budget of the State of Michigan was never going to be balanced on the lives of the children of Flint.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) DELAYED enforcement of federal laws that would’ve ensured safe drinking water.

Flint water crisis: Who’s been charged, who hasn’t
CNN is reporting Governor Rick Snyder has been named a defendant in the Flint Crisis.

It is now mid-May and not only does the struggle continue, so too does The Case of the People of Flint vs. The State of Michigan

Adourthus Mc Dowell is, at present, a Local School Council Facilitator and Community Organizer with an expertise in Nonprofit Organization Management. He has over 8 years of experience in the combined areas of Infant, Child, Adolescent, Pre- Natal, Male and Female Case Management, and Program Compliance Assessment. In the areas of child and adolescent mental health Adourthus worked with the Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, and the Urban Systems of Care Project. Adolescent and Men’s Health, education, and employment services with Marcy Newberry Association, and the Near North Health Service Corporation. With the Near North Health Services Corporation also a member of the Joint Accreditation Commission of Healthcare Organizations [JACHO]. Over eight years of education Training/Community Organizing, and Employment and Training with the Kenwood – Oakland Community Organization. Special populations service with the Salvation Army.

As of August 30th, 2015, I will no longer be a Local School Council Facilitator, as my medium, and long term goals conflict with this very important mission. As I look back on the last 25 years of Local School Council Service, which was celebrated with the CPS Office of LSC Relations Officer Guillermo Willy Montes de Oca, Last December 2014 at Lane Tech High School. I also look back with honor at 8 years of service and 5 years on the Board of Directors of Parents United for Responsible Education, 5 years of service with The Rebuild Our Schools TaskForce at the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, 18 years of service with the Kenwood – Oakland Community Organization in the fight to level the playing field for all of our children. As I look back on a combined 40 years of Local and International Public Service in the Community, I see a Community in a historical context comprised of a voluntary association of the “disinherited” taking a direct role in which decision making theory becomes reality in our well developed affinity for “distrust” for Centralized Authority. At its essential core, “Community Organizing” is vital for “Participatory Democracy”.

This piece was reprinted by EmpathyEducates with permission or license. We thank the Author, Adourthus Mc Dowell for his kindness, observations and reflection. We are grateful for his voice and work to revitalize a conversation. Might we all engage in Participatory Democracy, as Adourthus Mc Dowell has done, is doing, and will do.


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