Flint native understands sense of betrayal

I am from Flint, Michigan.

Flint families, not just mine, are suffering from the water tragedy there because it affects their day-to-day lives. 

The household that I grew up in and where my family still resides has been impacted by this water crisis. My mother has to boil water to clean herself and use bottled water to prepare food and brush her teeth.

For many city residents, the crisis didn’t come as a big shock because they’ve known for the past two years that the water they have been paying for is bad.

Residents have long realized that something was wrong – they just didn’t know exactly what.

As more water advisories were given telling residents to boil their tap water, different reasons were cited. Many residents now feel as if the state knew what was wrong all along and just didn’t want to provide the city with the accurate information.

Charvoris Russell, 21, an employee at FirstMerit Bank, lives in the city and attends local protests related to the water crisis. She believes that the governor and state should fully own up to their decisions.

“The state knew that the water they was giving us was contaminated,” said Russell. “There has to be some type of test you have to give before switching water sources to make sure the water is clean.”

Russell wants Governor Snyder to be tried in court for harming the children who are suffering from high lead levels in their blood system.

One result of the crisis is that Flint and Genesee County are becoming a stronger community and supporting each other throughout this devastating time.

Like others from Flint, I understand the feeling of betrayal. We feel betrayed by our own governor.

The governor allowed this to happen in a city that he vowed to help rebuild and regain its reputation as a “working city.” It feels disrespectful – as if he really thinks of us as a ghost town.

With the election of a new mayor, Karen Weaver, many who live in Flint feel confident that it won’t be long until this crisis is behind us and justice is served.

“That’s the first thing she (the mayor) brought to the nation’s attention – how bad the water was in the city and how she wanted to solve it and make it appropriate for using again,” said Shawn Conliffe, who has lived in Flint all of her adult life.

With the president’s support and the national exposure, we’re hoping this whole ordeal will soon be over and residents can safely drink city water again.

Wilson is a VN staff writer