NEW LIFETIME MOVIE SHEDS LIGHT ON THE WATER CRISIS IN FLINT MICHIGAN
POSTED OCTOBER 31ST, 2017 | BY DEIDRE CURIEL
With the water crisis going on in Flint Michigan, it has been said that water levels are back to ‘acceptable’ levels, but what does that truly mean?
In 2014, Flint Michigan began struggling with water conditions and over 100,000 locals were prevented clean running water and exposed to lead contamination. Now after two years of studies that confirm the water supply had been exposed to lead, residents have been forced to use bottled and or filtered water for everyday purposes, such as, bathing, cooking, washing etc. Water levels may be back to ‘acceptable levels’ but many of Flint’s population are still being enforced to use bottled water for recourses.
The source of lead contamination started when Flint changed its water source from Detroit River and Lake Huron, to Flint River. The Flint River had been poisoned with lead due to old dirty pipes that had not been dealt with prior to the water source switch. Several investigations have been put into place to tackle the core of all the speculations of who is responsible for not taking the appropriate precautions prior to switching the town’s water supply.
In April of 2014, Michael Prysby, the district engineer for the Office of Drinking Water at the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environment Quality), made a statement that safety measures had been set in place to prepare Flint for its new water supplier. In his words:
‘The quality of the water being put out meets all of our drinking water standards and Flint water is safe to drink.’
The mayor of Flint, Mayor Walling, also reassured Flint residents that they had nothing to worry about, and also in his own words:
‘It’s regular, good, pure drinking water and it’s right in our backyard. This is the first step in the right direction for Flint and we take this monumental step forward in controlling the future of our community’s most precious resource.’
These statements were embedded with an air of confidence; but you start to notice how things don’t add up. If safety measures have been taken, how have six to twelve-thousand children been exposed to above average amounts of lead? It’s obvious by now that once again the system has failed thousands of innocent people, which 41% are already living in poverty.
Water is a human right, and three women in particular helped bring awareness to the truth in regards to Flint’s water supply. The Lifetime movie channel is bringing you a full-frontal look at the lives of these individual women, how this crisis has affected them personally, and the extraordinary measures they had to take to be taken seriously by their own city and the people who are supposed to be in charge of it.
LeeAnne Walters (played by Betsy Brandt from ‘Breaking Bad’), 37 mother of four, had two four year olds break out in rashes, teenagers hair and eyelashes falling out and severe stomach pains due to all the lead in the water prior to any knowledge that the water was contaminated. Walters has helped spread so much awareness in city council meetings and attending protests for Flint residents that have been affected.
Melissa Mays (played by Marin Ireland), 37, a huge activist who has done so much for this cause, has been diagnosed herself and a victim of Flint’s water crisis. Her and her family have suffered with autoimmune disorders, lead poisoning, rashes, seizures and the list goes on and on. Melissa and her husband co-founded ‘Water You Fighting For’ where residents could meet, exchange information and give them a voice.
Nayyirah Shariff (played by Jill Scott), 40, is the organizer for The Flint Democracy Defense League. Shariff, who is also a long time supporter of Black Lives Matter, teamed up with the activist group in place to defend the lives of African Americans, have teamed up and provided Flint residents with hundreds of gallons of clean water. Nayyirah has brought to light the fact that the city's population is a majority of African Americans, and that management and precautions would have been taken more seriously if it wasn’t.
Queen Latifah is also in the film playing Iza Banks, a nurse who helped aid many residents throughout the lead poisoning epidemic of the water source switch. Along with acting in the film, the Queen is also one of the executive producers of the film, and who better than a queen to tell the story of other queens, right? The movie was released October 28th, and it’s a perspective of real life you do not want to miss out on.
It’s important to remember that, even though Flint is finally getting the attention and aid they need, these people were ignored, their lives were in jeopardy due to irresponsible budget cuts and convenience. It is essential for us not to forget Flint and everything this city has been through.
Deidre Curiel is a CUSITEMUSIC.com Blogger out of Chicago
Facebook: Deidre Michelle Curiel