Water Not Walls: Flint Residents Call Out Trump for Using Water Crisis as a Prop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Flint Rising

September 14, 2016

Contact: Marissa Luna, 989-798-3051, marissa@progressmichigan.org

Water Not Walls: Flint Residents Call Out Trump for Using Water Crisis as a Prop

Demand real solutions to the Flint water crisis

FLINT – Today, Flint residents, allies, and Flint Rising activists held a press conference ahead of Donald Trump’s campaign visit. Participants called Trump out for using the Flint water crisis as a campaign prop and for his failure to address the crisis since his campaign began.

“Donald Trump doesn’t care about Flint. We’re less than 60 days away from the presidential election and he just now decided to roll into town for a photo-op. That says a lot about his character,” said Ron Bieber, Michigan AFL-CIO president. “The damaged pipelines haven’t been replaced, the water still isn’t safe without filters, and families are still relying on bottled water but all Trump cares about is himself.”

Trump visited Detroit in March but made no mention of the Flint water crisis at that time.

“Not once since the beginning of his campaign has Donald Trump addressed this crisis, despite have ample opportunity. Now he is coming to our city to attempt to pivot his message and we won’t stand for it,” said Desiree Duell, mother and Flint Rising activist. “We need a real solution to this crisis, not empty rhetoric or more of the same of his ‘run government like a business’ mentality that led to this crisis in the first place. We’ve seen what happens when profits are put over people and we will not let it happen again.”

Flint residents still don’t have access to clean, safe water and there is no clear timeline for when they’ll be able to safely use water from their taps. Environmental Protection Agency officials warned that residents should expect to use filters for drinking tap water through at least the rest of the year.

The Flint Rising Coalition, through resident-to- resident contact and extensive community conversations, has identified residents’ demands, which include replacement of all damaged pipes using Flint workers, 100% bill reimbursement for toxic water since 2014, and the resources needed for children and families to deal with the impacts of lead and heavy metal toxins now and in the future.

“We demand solutions and concrete ideas to fix this crisis. We will not be fooled by empty rhetoric. Even after Donald Trump is gone, we will remain and work together for justice and a solution,” said Minister Rigel Dawson of North Central Church of Christ. “A true leader will join with us to find a solution instead of tokenizing us and will continue to keep elevating this issue until it is fixed instead of trying to co-opt this crisis for their own gain. That’s the kind of leadership that we will continue to fight for.”

Many residents agree that a profit over people mentality is what led to the Flint water crisis and are concerned that Trump’s campaign is a continuation of that model.

“Donald Trump has shown no respect for working people throughout his career and advocates for failed economic policies that benefit the wealthiest at the expense of working families, that’s not what the people of Flint need and that’s not what will solve this crisis,” said Gerald Kariem, director of UAW Region 1D.  “We need a leader who will work together with the community to both fix the Flint water crisis and rebuild the city of Flint as whole so that we all benefit.”     

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