Streamline: Is This Michigan City Another Flint?
Over the past two weeks, Michigan residents have been warned about the safety of their Water. Benton Harbor residents have been forced to wait for hours in line to receive a mere few bottles of Water for themself and their families. This problem has been ongoing for multiple weeks with no end in sight. To fix this crisis, six-thousand pipelines must be replaced, which will ultimately cost thirty million dollars; nineteen million dollars has already been raised. With a large number of families in Benton Harbor, the lead could cause a variety of problems. If children drank the lead in their Water it could lead to slowed growth and lower IQs. For adults, it can lead to cardiovascular, kidney, and reproductive problems. This suburb is located on the coast of western Michigan, but even with its prime location, residents still have no access to safe and clean Water.
The local government has known about this issue since 2018, so why is nothing changing? Benton Harbor’s population is 84% Black which plays a huge role in the lack of change. Similar to many of the issues in Flint Michigan, people of color are continuously being denied the access to Water that all humans deserve. The racial disparity in this community has a direct connection to the lack of support. Additionally, 48% of the residents live in poverty, and this intersectionality between class and race has cost these residents their right to clean Water. To further emphasize this point the two closest towns Stevensville and St Joseph, have a population that is 86% and 83% white respectively, and neither town is facing the same problems as Benton Harbor. This crisis is clearly disproportionately affecting Black impoverished people.
This crude injustice is exactly what we are fighting against. At Water& we believe that everyone deserves the right to clean Water.