When Environmental Racism, a Public Health Crisis, and an Educational Emergency Collide
Flint, Michigan, is ground zero for the four major crises that have afflicted the nation over the past year. In Flint, a health crisis collided with an economic downturn, systemic racism, and a burgeoning environmental crisis years before the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2014, an emergency manager changed Flint’s water source in an attempt to save money after decades of economic decline. Lead poisoning is known as a silent epidemic, but the people in Flint were not silent; they raised their voices. After the water switch, there was public outcry about the brown, smelly water. Six months after the switch, while the citizens of Flint were assured that the water was safe to drink, General Motors took its plant off the Flint water supply. It was more than a year before anything was done for the 100,000 people living in the majority Black city, approximately 30,000 of whom were children.