World (Ensia) – As we invest in our public water systems — and we must — we need to distribute costs equitably. Ask someone in Flint, Michigan, or São Paolo, Brazil — the list of cities rocked by water disasters seems to…
Since August, over 400 people have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline –140 in the last week alone. This after the tribe sued the federal government in July, stating that they were not properly consulted about the construction project.
One underlying reason for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the construction of the oil pipeline is the tribe’s concern about safe drinking water. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lawsuit argues that the US government failed to properly consider the potential risks of the pipeline construction to the source of the Tribe’s drinking water.
Courts have twice denied the tribe’s request to stop the pipeline construction for now, agreeing with the government’s position that the Tribe was not sufficiently able to show that they were likely to win their lawsuit.
September 28, 2016 -Today, Congressman Dan Kildee secured a pathway forward for federal funding to address the drinking water health crisis in Flint, Michigan through an amendment in the House’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
The Michigan delegation, with the support of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, had pushed hard to add emergency assistance to Flint as part of the pending negotiations over the must-pass Continuing Resolution.
The United States has seen more than its fair share of riots over the last couple of years. Many like to see riots as spontaneous events that are completely unpredictable; and some forms of riots of riots are, such as those after sporting events. Most, however, are very predictable. Certain conditions need to be in place before an inciting event can trigger a riot.
The reason the United States is seeing more and more riots is because the conditions are prevalent in more and more communities. These conditions are present in Flint, and the longer it takes the government to act, the more likely a riot becomes. Many times, the cause of the riot is seemingly unknown to the government. In fact, it’s almost a prerequisite for a riot because not many governments are callous enough to let an important grievance of their people go unattended if they are aware of it. In Flint, the government knows what will cause the riot, they just don’t care.
Martin Luther King famously said that a riot is the language of the unheard. He’s right. The conditions for a riot are simple. A populace needs to have a long-standing grievance of life and death that has gone unheard by the government, and they need to be economically depressed. Those three conditions set the stage, then an inciting incident must occur.
By now, most know the newspaper facts behind what happened in Flint over the Memorial Day weekend. A group of activists, some armed, traveled from over twenty states to bring water to a community poisoned and abandoned by those who should be protecting them. The water was distributed, a rally was held, activists took over the streets, and contacts were made. What happened in Flint was far more significant that that simple storyline.
First, it was an all-star cast of attendees. From high-profile activists like retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis to activists whose activities are a little more controversial in nature and who only go into print under aliases; “Yellow Laces” from my coverage of the Ferguson riots was there. They were men and women I recognized from many other news stories over the years and from across the country. There were veterans of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, peace activists, an activist I was subpoenaed to defend in an assault on an LEO case, militiamen who stood their ground at Bundy Ranch and the Sugar Pine Mine, Anonymous activists who have outed pedophiles and shut down DC, even the crew who literally tortured me on the Statehouse steps in Ohio was there. Those who attended were very active activists. This ensemble crossed all ideological lines. The crowd spanned from the far-right to the far-left. Constitutionalists, socialists, anarchists, communists, Republicans, Democrats, and just about every other “-ist” were there is support of Flint. All of that was set aside. In front of City Hall, a local activist wanted to close the day with a prayer. Sam Andrews, a right-wing Constitutionalist, led the prayer. People in the crowd who I personally knew to be atheists bowed their heads, not out of conformity but in unity. Earlier, when a speaker referred to centralized government as “unnecessary”, the Constitutionalists (many of whom see the Constitution and The Bill of Rights as ordained by God) didn’t heckle.
Its 7 am. Your alarm goes off. You and your husband get the three kids up for school. Everyone showers and sits down to coffee and breakfast then head out the door to begin their day. Sounds like a familiar scenario in most typical American households. One community no longer has the luxury of those typical American mornings. Now let’s take a sneak peek into a morning routine for the average family in Flint Michigan. Mom doesn’t jump out of bed into a steamy hot shower. If she did, it is likely she would break out in rashes. While the masses get faucets, hot water and a loofah she gets a bottle of water with soap and washcloth. She gets out her toothbrush and another bottle of water to brush her teeth. She leaves the bathroom as her husband comes in and repeats a similar routine. The three children, one after the other, have learned the same methods of cleaning themselves and personal hygiene. Downstairs, the coffee pot is filled with bottled water and begins brewing. As breakfast is being cooked on one burner, a pot full of bottled water heats on another. While everyone finishes breakfast and gets the last of their morning belongings ready, the pot of water gets poured into the sink. Mom washes the dishes and one by one uses more bottles of water to rinse each dish then places them in a dish strainer. Kisses and hugs are exchanged and the family walks out the door. This, my friends, is a typical American morning routine for the citizens of Flint Michigan.