In the midst of the Flint, MI, water crisis, many public figures have made a point to weigh in on the tragedy, in particular how it might affect minorities. In fact, even presidential candidates have stepped up to have a say, according to Raw Story.
As the pressure of the upcoming Iowa Caucus comes to a head, Hillary Clinton spoke in Iowa saying the lead contamination of city water in Flint, Michigan is “a civil rights issue.”
Michigan’s Tea Party Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been under severe scrutiny for his decision to use the Flint River as a main source for the city’s water, allowing the city’s outdated plumbing to leach lead into the water.
The predominantly black and working class city had complained about the contamination of their water but were largely ignored by the Snyder administration. This lead to accusations of environmental racism.
With 104,852 plumbing and sewage companies currently operating in the U.S., it would be more than feasible for Snyder to have contractors replace the old lead pipes.
“If it had been a rich white suburb where the water was brown and smelly, people would have come immediately to the rescue of those families,” said Clinton.
It wasn’t until several children became so ill that they are facing lifelong neurological damage from consuming lead that Snyder finally sought out help from the Obama administration.
Another very passionate figure came to the aid of the city when award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, a Flint native, began tweeting about the crisis before it even became international news, as Identities.Mic reports.
On Dec. 19, Moore posted a tweet saying, “This is a racial killing. Flint MI is 60% black. When u knowingly poison a black city, u r committing a version of genocide #ArrestGovSnyder.”
Then on Jan. 17, Moore took to social media again to further enforce his views, tweeting, “If this were elsewhere, and the white leader blocked a black city’s clean water supply and made them drink poison, we’d call it ethnic cleansing.”
Unfortunately, it would appear that low income families in Flint are not the only ones at risk, as this exposure has raised questions about the quality of drinking water in cities across the country.
For example, New York City, which also has a sizable black population, discovered as far back as 2012 that more than 900 local children had tested positive for lead poisoning. Of the children, most were children of color: 23% were black, 31% were Latino, and 26% were Asian.