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News from Flint Rising
May 18, 2016
Flint Residents to Gov. Snyder: We’re Here to Wash Your Sins Away
Ann Arbor and Flint residents hold solidarity protest to lift to water quality issues Flint families continue to face, even with bathing and showering
ANN ARBOR – Flint residents arrived in Ann Arbor decked out in their shower garbs with toiletries in hand with one mission: to take a shower in clean, safe water. In an act of solidarity, families in the Ann Arbor area opened their homes to host Flint residents to bathe – a routine afterthought for many, but a luxury for people in Flint. Residents in Flint are still experiencing negative effects from their water, many have experienced rashes, skin burning and irritation, along with loss of hair.
“As a mother and a nurse, I know how important basic sanitation, like a regular shower, is to health,” said Ypsilanti shower host, Heather Roe. “That is why I gladly opened my home so that Flint residents could bathe. We are drawing attention to the fact that they should be able to do so with confidence and dignity everyday in the comfort of their own homes.”
Following the opportunity to bathe, residents from Flint joined the weekly protests, orchestrated by Ann Arbor residents, which have occurred outside of the Governor’s home since the water crisis in Flint was brought to light. Residents of both cities participating in the action aimed to highlight the connection between the two: one where the person responsible for the crisis lives and the other where his policies have hurt people.
“It’s a performance piece to show that we can’t shower safely in our homes and so we must seek other places,” said Desiree Duell, a local artist and Flint Rising activist. “I think that doing it in another person’s home is very intimate. It’s one thing to see a crisis unfold in the news, but it’s much more powerful to experience that crisis by meeting the people who it’s affecting in your own home.”
The action – a performance titled: Washing Away Snyder’s Sins – uplifted the fact that residents continue to face water quality issues with showering and bathing, even after more than two years of residents raising concerns about the water. The goal of the action was to let people outside of the city of Flint know that there is still a water crisis happening and that progress is moving a snail’s pace.
“It’s about humanizing the issue,” Duell continued. “Showering and bathing is a private act, but we rely on public services like water delivery to make it happen. Right now in Flint, people don’t have these basic necessities.”