Friday, April 27, 2018

On the Flint Water Crisis: Activist Melissa Mays.

Contributed to PWP by Melissa Mays of Flint.

So I'm sitting in the middle seat on my flight back from DC (waiting for my head to explode because apparently my new filling doesn't like flying) and I am mulling over the insanity of the past week... month... 4 years. Adam Mays, during his speech at the 4 year commemoration of our poisoning said:
"Heroes have heart and are not bought."
This was one of the clearest and simplest statements because there's a lot of money flowing around our disaster but it's not making it to the residents' actual overall and livesaving needs. I'm angry because:
*$200,000 could get us about 74 semi trucks full of bottled water.
*$2 million could replace a lot of water heaters
*$200,000 could get us a lot of bacterial testing for our water
*$2 million could get Flint residents' water turned back on and so on...
THESE are the things I'm angry about and stewing over on the flight. But as I talk to a wonderful lady to my left about the MI State corruption and complete disregard for human life in Flint, the lady to my right asks if she can join in the conversation. She gives us her name and she is HERO ACTIVIST Claudia Barlow who has been fight sex trafficking for DECADES!!!!
So we turn the conversation to how the actual people doing the fighting and living in the disaster are the true experts but take the most abuse. We share stories of the threats, lies and terror brought down on those of us for standing up and refusing to quit or be bought. Claudia was all but erased from existence and was threatened by several governmental agencies, including the IRS for over a decade. This lady has been throught absolute HELL and is not afraid of a damn thing... THAT is totally inspiring.
I got off the plane no longer feeling angry towards people getting awarded for not helping us, but realizing that the true Flint residents are really setting the example for how we will not back down. People are seeing our work and our fight, whether we realize it or not. We will not be bought, and that is the reason why we are still fighting with heart, even though our bodies are being poisoned. But we WILL NOT STOP. Hopefully those institutions, foundations and groups will wake up and break their cycle of supporting everyone BUT impacted residents. And even if not, we will CONTINUE to do it without them. OUR WAY.

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