Water is not the solution to the crisis in Flint — according to award-winning filmmaker and activist Michael Moore.
Despite community efforts at the University and around the nation to provide clean water to Flint residents, Moore said sending water bottles will not help the city’s water crisis.
In a letter addressed to “America” on his website, Moore said sending clean water cannot undo the damage already present in Flint’s citizens exposed to the water. He said the brain damage in citizens with elevated levels of lead in their blood will have to suffer neurological impediments, lower IQs and behavioral problems all throughout their lives.
“No check you write, no truckloads of Fiji Water or Poland Spring, will bring their innocence or their health back to normal,” Moore said. “It’s done.”
Moore said sending water to the city is only a temporary solution, as Flint’s 102,000 citizens each require at least 200 bottles of water per day for cooking, bathing, washing clothes, doing dishes and eating.
Instead, Moore is demanding the removal and arrest of Governor Rick Snyder (R), who he says is the perpetrator of the crisis. Moore said Snyder caused the crisis by replacing elected officials in majority Black and poor cities, like Flint and Detroit, with state-appointed emergency managers, and by cutting costs and services to make up for cutting taxes for the rich.
Toxically high levels of lead have been cited in Flint’s water after switching its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River in a cost-cutting measure. Since the switch in April 2014, researches reported critically high levels of lead in the blood of in thousands of Flint children, which can lead to serious behavioral problems into adulthood.
Over the past month, students across all three University campuses — Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn — have responded to the crisis through providing aid and promoting discussion on how to move forward. The University’s Prevention Research Center and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center are partnering in a campaigned to send water bottles to the city. The University’s Black Student Union started a GoFundMe to raise money for fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other student organizations have provided assistance to the city.
“Now we’re talking about how actual water has been used to institute these twisted economic beliefs in destroying the lives of the black and the poor in Flint, Michigan,” Moore said.