The founders of Black Lives Matter have released a public statement on their social media accounts standing in solidarity with the residents of Flint during the Flint Water Crisis, listing a series of demands to be met as they seek to defend the rights of Flint’s overwhelmingly poor black population.
For nearly a year, Governor Snyder and other state and city officials sat idly by as the people of Flint were poisoned. A man-made disaster, the water crisis is an explicit and egregious form of state violence, one that impacts low-income Black people hardest. Flint is more than 50 percent black. More than 40 percent of the residents in the Vehicle City are living below the poverty line – making it the second most impoverished city of its size in the nation.
The right to clean drinking water is a matter of health and dignity, and for many Black residents in Flint, it is also a matter of life and death. Residents living with autoimmune disorders like lupus and HIV are at especially high risk. Additionally, pregnant people, elders, and children are all exceptionally susceptible to lead poisoning – the most critical concern for Flint residents who rely on tap water for drinking.