Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) will soon be in Washington, D.C., to give testimony to the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee about the Flint water crisis. But he won't be the only one arriving in the nation's capital to talk about his disgrace. Five Flint, Mich., families coping with the aftermath of the crisis also will be in Washington to share their stories. AFL-CIO and the community group Flint Rising are working to ensure these families have their voices heard, too.
The stories of these families, and the many other Flint residents who couldn't travel to D.C., are heartbreaking:
- Desiree Duell and David Henderson: Duell is a single parent. She experienced bleeding from the ears following the water exposure and struggles to afford the city’s extremely high water bills. Her son, David, is 10.
- Bernadel Jefferson and Lewenna and Jaylon Terry: Jefferson is a pastor in Flint. Her daughter, Lewenna, is the mother of Jaylon, 10, who has struggled in school following lead exposure. Jefferson comes from an AFSCME family.
- Laura, Iain and Broghan MacIntyre: Laura is a lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint and a member of the American Federation of Teachers. Her children, Iain and Broghan, are 10.
- Nakiya Wakes: Wakes is a single parent who was pregnant when she moved to Flint in 2014 and subsequently suffered a miscarriage. Her son has faced challenges at school, and her daughter suffers from epilepsy.
- Keri Webber: Webber’s daughter has tested positive for lead, and her husband now suffers from debilitating migraine headaches and loss of vision. His health problems prevented him from traveling to D.C. The family is struggling with mounting medical bills.
The families have some questions of their own for Snyder. From a letter they sent to the oversight committee:
- Will you agree to publicly release all of your personal emails, personal and official emails from staff, text messages, phone records, memos and your daily briefing documents related to the Flint water crisis?
- Did anyone from your staff ever brief you on concerns about lead contamination in Flint’s water prior to Oct. 1, 2015?
- Did anyone from your staff ever brief you on a possible connection between Flint’s water supply and an increase in reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease prior to Jan. 1, 2016?
- Did you or anyone from your staff delay the public release of lead test results from a Flint elementary school prior to a news conference on Oct. 8, 2015?
Beyond looking for answers, the families have three specific actions they want Snyder to take to rectify the situation:
- Fix the pipes. Make sure Flint residents have clean water.
- Provide full reimbursement for water bills during the crisis. Flint residents paid some of the highest water bills in the country for some of the worst water.
- Implement a comprehensive program of health care, education and services. Some Flint residents still don't know about the water crisis and don't know what steps they should take to protect themselves and their families.