In Flint, put children’s well-being first
The following article was written about the Flint Water Crisis by UAW Vice President and Director of the GM Department, Cindy Estrada. It originally appeared in the Detroit News as part of their Labor Voices series.
My husband and our twin sons recently joined countless others to distribute water to Flint families dealing with the man-made lead poisoning disaster that has impacted so many, including thousands of children. We met too many people who are hurting and don’t know whom to trust anymore.
We met the grandmother who wept over the injury she had innocently caused her grandchildren when she followed Michigan Department of Environment Quality guidelines and boiled lead-laden tap water before giving it to them to drink. She bore a heavy burden that she never should have had to bear.
We met the elderly disabled woman without transportation who was down to her last bottle of water. She didn’t know how she would get more or where it would come from. In an effort to maintain her hygiene and dignity, she was forced to bathe in the poisonous water flowing from her tap — water that she said “hurt” and caused rashes.
On the drive home, I thought of the thousands of Flint children who were allowed to drink and bathe in poisonous water for over a year before state government officials admitted there was a problem and declared a disaster.