The Flint Water Crisis By: Luke ponko

One civil rights issue in our current world is the water in Flint Michigan. In Flint, the water has a great deal of lead contamination and many people are suffering from this condition. This is a civil rights issue because the liberties of having clean water is being taken away. The governor has known, but not acted upon this crisis. In the town of Flint, the majority of the citizens are black due to the history of redlining (selling blacks a specific plot of land). The governor is denying to give the town what they desperately need because of this. Many in the town feel like they either do not have a voice or their voice does not matter in the world. The water has not been cleaned due to the the governor not caring about the black population in the town and the prejudice he inflicts. Clearly, the water is truly a civil crisis. “Governor Snyder admits to failure in government to protect the Flint residents’ health.” (Chicago tribune) The governor doesn't care and he admits it. He is taking away the personal freedoms and rights to clean water with his acts of injustice.

The water in Flint Michigan crisis can be easily compared to the civil rights movement because both of the populations in the movements were heavily affected by racism. In the Flint water crisis, the governor knew that Flint is an all black population, therefore he openly ignores their cries for help because of sheer racism. “Victims were ignored, advocates demeaned.” (Detroit Newspaper) The people of Flint need someone to step up and receive the call, but the governor is not listening. The people of Flint suffer because of their skin color and the racism of the governor. In the civil rights movement, there was multiple accounts of racism throughout. “We get second-hand books, second hand schools and second-hand teachers, while the white kids get new schools, new books, and better teachers.” (Civil rights movement website) The black population got hand-me-downs while the white students got new advanced scholastic equipment due to their lighter shade of skin color. All because of the color, they were given a worse life, with worse opportunities for jobs and work. Clearly, the populations of both people were unjustly treated due to their skin color.

Taken at a Flint protest.
Taken at a Civil Rights Movement protest.

Although these two topics can be easily comparable, they are also drastically different because of the violence each of the populations committed and endured. In the Flint water crisis the people were calm and considerate. “The protests, in my opinion were very peaceful and respectful.” (Michigan Government Website) This is a ton different from the Civil rights protests. In the civil rights protests, the police acted upon their speaking and harmed and even killed protesters. “Till was brutally beaten and his eye was gouged out before the men shot him, tied a 70-lb cotton gin fan around his neck with barbed wire and dumped him in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s body was found 3 days later and returned to Chicago where his mother insisted on an open casket so that the world could see what was done to her innocent child.” (Five tragic deaths in the civil rights movement) This is one million times worse than the protests of the Flint population because not only did the white people kill protestors, they brutally abused, tortured, and murdered innocent little kids in cold blood. The Civil Rights Movement is different from the Flint Michigan water crisis because of the violence and injustice that the white people caused in the Civil Rights movement as opposed to the white population in the water crisis.

Civil Rights protests got out of hand many times.
While Flint protests were very peaceful.

Clearly, due to the racism being inflicted on both the Flint population and the black population in the Civil Rights Movement these two topics are in some way similar, but are very different because of the levels of violence being inflicted by the white populations in both situations. As a reader, to help out with the Flint Michigan crisis, you can donate to and donate to other Flint Michigan charities to help them get what they truly deserve.

"Civil Rights Martyrs." Southern Poverty Law Center. Southern Poverty Law Center, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

"The Civil Rights Movement: Major Events and Legacies." The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Gilder Lehman Institution of American History, 30 July 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Egan, Paul. "Michigan Civil Rights Panel: Flint Water Crisis Rooted in 'systemic Racism'." Chicago Tribune, 18 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Gerstein, Michael. "Snyder Commission: Racism Played Role in Flint Crisis." Detroit News. Detroit News, 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.


Created with images by Brian Smithson (Old Geordie) - "Water"

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