Flint Water Crisis — NAACP 20-Point Community Priorities Plan
Community meetings, hosted by the Flint NAACP Branch, surfaced multiple community concerns and demands. One Flint resident reflected on the relationship between many African American communities and law enforcement in the context of the trauma of seeing flashing lights and armed forces in their communities, albeit bearing water. He stated, “If I open my door when they come and take out my cell phone, they might shoot me because they think it’s a gun!” Others agreed and there was consensus that it would be ideal to shift the money spent on transporting and housing National Guard persons to providing local jobs to youth and others for water distribution. A woman, with tearful emotion, described her blended family where her stepson lives in Detroit and she and her husband are supposed to have him on the weekends. Since this water crisis arose, her stepson’s mother refuses to send him to Flint which, as she said, is tearing their hearts out, though they make adjustments at great expense to go and stay at a hotel in Detroit to be near him when they can. Others spoke of the injustice of the combination of 65% rate hikes for water that have occurred over the past 2 years and having to pay at all for water they can barely use. One person gave an example of an earlier stage in the crisis when she tried to take a shower and her skin was burning saying, “And I’m supposed to pay for that??” We also heard demands for replacing infrastructure and ensuring that the pipefitting and other jobs go to local people. Most stridently, we heard the need for a return to democracy by repealing the Emergency Financial Manager Law, the implementation of which set off the string of decisions that brought Flint to this crisis.
Recognizing that an effective and lasting action plan must be comprehensive, multisector, and include short term mitigation goals, as well as long term redevelopment planning, the NAACP emphasizes that the action must be undergirded by the following principles essential to advancing an agenda that upholds civil and human rights:
1) Equity and Justice