By ZEINAB NAJM
Dearborn and Dearborn Heights community leaders, organizations and students joined forces to collect bottles of water for residents of Flint during the city’s water crisis.
Henry Ford College, Dearborn Public Schools, Hype Athletics, Dearborn Firefighters, University of Michigan-Dearborn student government, Dearborn Heights Global Heights Academy, Kiwanis Club, UAW Local 600, and Who Is Hussain are some of the organizations aiding in Flint’s water need.
State Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) teamed up with Friends of Flint along with Wayne County Chairman Gary Woronchak (D-Dearborn) and Commissioner Diane Webb (D-Livonia).
Knezek and his team of volunteers, employees and schools collected 103,00 bottles of water to contribute to the 353,000 bottles collected through Friends of Flint.
“We have to work together in order to provide the residents of Flint the clean water they deserve,” he said. “The community rallied and was able to donate the 11 truckloads of water for families and children dealing with this unfortunate situation.”
They Dearborn Heights City Council also assisted Knezek and his team with the water collection efforts.
“The communities of southeast Michigan joined together supporting and donating much-needed bottled water,” Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton wrote on her Facebook page. “Thank you, Senator David Knezek for uniting our communities in support for a great cause!”
DPS contributed 1,000 cases of water, the Who is Hussain organization sent $30,000 to the Red Cross, UAW Local 600 donated two truck loads and Byblos Banquets gave 108 cases.
HFC, 5101 Evergreen Road in Dearborn, extended its deadline to donate water to Feb. 12 and those interested can drop off water to the Student and Culinary Arts Center building.
The first complaints from Flint residents began in the summer of 2014, when the water began to smell, change color, taste different and cause sickness.
A boil water advisory was issued after the city’s water source, the Flint River, tested positive for E. coli. In January 2015, former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said the city’s water was safe to drink.
The University of Michigan-Flint then discovered lead in water samples collected from its campus. Lead was also found in the blood samples of children who lived in the city.
In October, 24,000 water filters were given to residents as part of an action plan addressing the issue.
Also in October came the reconnection of the city of Flint to the Detroit water system. The year ended with a new mayor, Karen Weaver who declared a state of emergency for the city.
In 2016, the Flint water crisis began attracting the attention of national media and celebrities from across the country.
President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for the state on Jan. 16.
On Feb. 2, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller introduced a $1 billion act to provide emergency funding for underground pipe replacement.
“As our entire country is now painfully aware, because of an epic failure of government at every level, the local level, the state level, and the federal level, the citizens of Flint, Michigan have been drinking contaminated water for almost 2 years,” she said in a press release. “Especially vulnerable to the high lead levels are a generation of children and babies – American children and babies – not from a different country. They are our children, who will pay the consequences.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)