Yes, there IS good news to be had from the unfortunate water supply debacle in Flint.
The ability to access information is creating a faster reaction to create solutions.
The old method to deny, evade, and cover-up information legitimately within public domain is not successful anymore. In years past, a more likely outcome would have been the passing of many many years until the truth would be discovered. Especially in a city which is not white and affluent. Politicians can no longer expect to be protected from mismanagement, arrogance and greed, simply because of the office they hold. In fact, it is now the understanding that anyone who wants to work in the political sphere of offices involved with water management in Michigan will accept greater transparency and the participation of people. They will rightly demand truth and solutions.
Whistle blowers are appreciated. A few short years ago, whistleblowers were shamed and punished severely as corporate or political traitors. Think of the statement of Dr Marc Edwards regarding the attempts by Miguel A. Del Toral to bring awareness of the situation to the officials who could have and should have acted upon the information. The whistle blower is a hero! Public shaming is now directed to individuals who failed to act with the highest intentions for the greatest good.
And related to the above is the courage of people with the appropriate authority to not fear repercussions and loudly speak the truth. These individuals added the credibility needed to support the claims made by Flint citizens who apparently had no voice.
The Flint Water Crisis is now a case study at two Universities. This education will serve to sensitize people to political maneuvering around our most basic right to a clean planet. How would this situation have played out in other parts of the United States? Europe? China? Africa?
It is tempting to hold the story up against a grid of good and bad, but the clearer opportunity is to look past the mistakes and true lack of knowledge. We can now appreciate the real gains made which will benefit us all to untold lengths in the future.
Fresh Air and Free does not have information about personal donations to Flint, but the outpouring of support from celebrity and corporate donations is heartwarming:
“On January 9, the United Auto Workers union donated drinking water to Flint via a caravan of trucks to local food banks, and an AmeriCorps team announced that it would deploy to Flint to assist in response efforts.
On January 16, singer Cher donated 181,000 bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, while the Legacy Group Water Project coordinated with the Red Cross and the City of Flint as well as Bottles for the Babies to initiate the largest volunteer action to distribute water and filters into the city in a single day since the citywide emergency was declared a month earlier. Operation Flint, another volunteer group, also began accepting water donations the same day.
On January 18, rapper Meek Mill donated $50,000 and 60,000 bottles of water to Flint to aid in the crisis, while Oskar Blues Brewery and Ball Corporation donated 50,000 cans of water to Flint.
On January 19, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians donated $10,000 to the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department.
On January 21, rapper Big Sean, a Detroit native, donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, the Flint Firebirds’ rivals in the Ontario Hockey League made donations: the Windsor Spitfires donated 40,000 bottles of water, and the Sarnia Sting donated 15,000 bottles of water, and teamed with United Way of America to begin a fund for Flint, where $2 will give someone a full case of free water.
On January 22, Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah donated 94,000 bottles to Flint, and Terrance Knighton and his Washington Redskins teammates donated 3,600 bottles of water to Flint’s Catholic Charities USA. Also on that date, rock band Pearl Jam and a large group of musicians donated $300,000 to the United Way of Genesee County, and started a fundraiser for donations from its fans. Additionally, fundraising website GoFundMe promised to donate an additional $10,000 to the fund of the winner of a week-long contest that ends on January 29 between a large number of groups trying to raise money for Flint, while Anheuser-Busch donated 51,744 cans of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
On January 24, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint while a group made up of actor Mark Wahlberg and rappers Sean Combs, Eminem and Wiz Khalifa donated 1 million bottles of water to Flint.
On January 25, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donated $50,000 and 25,000 cases of water to the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.
On January 26, Walmart, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestle and PepsiCo announced that they would collectively donate a total of 176 truckloads of water (up to 6.5 million bottles) through the end of 2016. On the same day, singer Madonna donated $10,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, and singer Kem donated $10,000 to the Salvation Army of Genesee County. Also, rapper The Game donated $1,000,000 in water bottles to Flint, while FedEx, along with the city of Memphis Tennessee donated 12,000 bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. Additionally, Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris, in conjunction with Philadelphia organizations F.O.E. and the Nehemiah Davis Foundation donated 60,000 cases of water to Flint.
On January 27, singer Aretha Franklin said she will provide hotel rooms and food for 25-50 Flint residents.
On January 28, Platinum Equity chairman and CEO and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores a Flint native, launched a campaign to raise $10 million for Flint. Also on that date rapper Pusha T donated 2,000 cases of bottled water to Flint. Also on that date the city of Evanston, Illinois donated $5,000 to the United Way of Genesee County.
On January 30, the company ShowerPill donated $100,000 in anti-microbial body wipes, baby wipes and water for distribution by the United Way of Genesee County for distribution focused on high schools and senior centers.”