Civil and Human Rights Activists Join With Faith and Environmental Groups to Call on Congressional Funding for Flint

By Yessenia Funes Sep 27, 2016

Yesterday (September 26), 86 national civil and human rights, faith and environmental groups wrote a letter to Congress urging them to take financial action for Flint, Michigan, before the congressional recess from October 1 to November 13.The letter states:

Congress must act to address emergencies whenever and wherever they occur, and the need is most acute when our most vulnerable communities are struck by disaster.

This is true regardless of whether a disaster strikes in a red state, a blue state, or a purple state. Republicans who demand federal aid for their home states should also ensure funding for Flint, a community overwhelmingly composed of people of color and with nearly 40 percent of its residents living below the poverty line.

We are deeply concerned that the people of Flint, Michigan have been waiting for more than a year for emergency assistance. They require immediate aid, and further delays are unacceptable as a matter of basic decency and fairness. Tens of thousands of people in Michigan have been harmed by this crisis, and they continue to struggle to provide clean drinking water for their families. So far, 10,000 children of Flint will suffer from lead poisoning because of this disaster. These children deserve environmental justice, and they deserve clean drinking water. It is absolutely astonishing that in the greatest nation in the world, one with so many resources, the people of Flint continue to lack the most essential of needs—clean drinking water.

This letter comes on the anniversary of when Hurley Medical Center’s Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha released her data on blood lead levels among Flint children.

The signees—including the African-American Health Alliance, the Asian Pacific American Labor alliance, the NAACP and the Sierra Club—did note their satisfaction in seeing funding for the Flint water crisis in the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), but, they claim, “This is not enough.” The letter continues: “There has been no guarantee from House Republicans that they will include adequate relief for Flint in the House version of WRDA, and we have no idea when a final bill would get to President Obama’s desk.”

The three-page letter also calls out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has proposed emergency funding for the severe flooding that hit Louisiana in August—yet he’s rejected a similar measure for the people of Flint. The signees demand that both flood victims and residents of the Michigan town receive aid. “It is inequitable to provide relief for Louisiana now, but to once again punt on assistance for Flint,” the letter concludes.

Read the complete letter and statement from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights here.