NAACP Releases 20-Point List of Priorities to Address the Needs of Flint ResidentsFebruary 15, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Association Requests a Clear Timeline, Deadline and Cost for
Replacement of Water Infrastructure
FLINT, MI – NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, joined by leadership from the NAACP Michigan State Conference and Flint, Michigan branch, today held a press conference to address the latest developments in the Flint water crisis and release the Association’s 20-point list of priorities to address the needs of Flint residents.
“The residents of Flint have suffered irreparable harm due to the poor decisions made by government officials,” said Cornell William Brooks. “The NAACP is expecting significant progress on the 20-point list of priorities to give residents a timely and clear resolution to this man-made crisis. In the absence of significant progress over the next 30 days, the NAACP will embark on an intense, broad-based campaign of direct action until progress is made and the residents of Flint receive measurable relief.”
The NAACP’s 20-point list of priorities includes the request for a clear, detailed timeline for the replacement of the water infrastructure, a deadline for completion of construction of the new infrastructure, and the cost of replacing the infrastructure.
“Flint, Michigan is an example of the result of disinvestment in the local economy and the disinvestment in democracy,” said Francis Gilcreast, president of the NAACP Flint branch. “The 20-point list of priorities is a result of our listening to the community’s concerns and we will remain in service to the community as we use those priorities as our marching orders to ensure the goals of the 20-point plan are achieved and implemented.”
"The appointment of emergency managers, primarily in communities of color, continues to extend an oppressive and unjust form of governance that takes away local control and power from Michigan’s most vulnerable residents," said Pamela L. Pugh, Michigan State Conference NAACP Health Chair. "Flint’s poisonous water has shed light on callous decisions that continue to risk the health and well-being of our most vulnerable Michigan citizens. In addition to this atrocity, after more than six years under a failed state takeover, the same emergency manager has been at the helm of the Detroit Public Schools, resulting in a destabilized education system, marred by decreased academic outcomes, and increased deficit of $3.5 billion."
President Brooks traveled to Flint on January 26th to convene a public mass meeting and listen to the community’s concerns. Based on community input received at that meeting and several others hosted by the Flint branch, the NAACP finalized a 20-point list of priorities that details necessary steps to address the needs of the citizens of Flint and the resources required for remediation. At those meetings, residents expressed frustration over multiple issues but one of the concerns heard repeatedly was the need to repeal the Emergency Financial Manager Law - the implementation of which set off the string of decisions that brought Flint to this crisis.
President Brooks also met with Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during his trip to Flint last month. Since that meeting with the Governor two weeks ago, there has been insufficient progress to resolve the crisis other than offering a bargain Band-Aid to the high-impact trauma wound called the Flint Water Crisis. The response to date has been a largely unproven, untested and uncertain response to a long-standing environmental tragedy. Hence, our uncompromising demand for a timeline, deadline and price tag.
Flint Water Crisis - NAACP 20-Point Community Priorities
An effective and lasting action plan must be comprehensive, multisector, and include short term mitigation goals as well as a long term redevelopment and economic development plan. This plan must be guided by the following principles:
1) Equity and Justice
1) Emergency Financial Manager Law Must Be Repealed: Dissolve any and all oversight appointments which negate the authority of the elected mayor of the City of Flint, the Honorable Dr. Karen Weaver. Support the efforts of the Mayor as she moves forward in overseeing the business of the city.
2) The City of Flint Must Have a New, State of the Art, Water Distribution System: Build a state-of-the-art infrastructure water distribution system, including damaged pipes from the city street/curbs leading into the homes of the citizens of the City of Flint, schools and small, privately owned businesses.
3) Responsibility for the Crisis Must Be Investigated and Accountability Measures Must Be Imposed: All persons who played an active part in decision-making process of the switch to Flint River as a drinking water source should be investigated. A strategy for implementation of programs/systems specifically designed for righting the wrongs suffered by the citizens of Flint may include financial compensation for loss of life, loss of quality of life, education, employment, decreases in property value, and increases in insurance rates.
4) A Dedicated Fund for Support Systems Must Be Established to Address Impacts of Lead and Other Toxic Exposure: Through this dedicated fund, support systems must be established to address social, criminal and health issues arising from the water crisis, i.e. early childhood education programs, special education programs, counseling/mental health programs, medical care, community-based, rehabilitation focused policing programs, etc., to accommodate those in need of these services from early childhood throughout adulthood.
5) The Environmental Justice Plan for the State of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality, as established by Executive Order 2011-1, Must Be Instituted: The plan includes measures to identify, address and prevent discriminatory public health or environmental effects of state laws, regulations, policies and activities on Michigan residents, while balancing productive economic growth with the high quality of life that is important to all people. In implementing the plan, there must be cooperation, across various federal and state agencies and programs, to address environmental justice concerns and ensure meaningful engagement of residents.
6) Fairness/Justice Must Be Examined in Rate Hikes and Continued Billing for Poisonous Water: Provide immediate relief for Flint residents by lowering and/or providing water credits to a more reasonable level for residents who are experiencing some of the highest water bill rates in the country, while some of the most toxic water in the country flows from the taps where over 40% of the households are below the poverty line.
7) An Independent Community Oversight Board Must Be Established: To ensure community driven review of processes and decision making, trusted community members must examine research findings and proposed plans, and evaluate outcomes of programming and policies, as well as act as stewards of accountability.
8) All Flint Citizens Must Be Provided Free Home Inspections: Free city-wide home inspections for citizens of Flint must be conducted to determine the extent of damage and estimated cost for repair or replacement of pipes, plumbing, appliances, and water tanks damage due to corrosion.
9) All Flint Residents Must Be Provided Federally Funded Replacement of Damaged Systems/Appliances: There must be federally funded replacement of plumbing systems and/or water tanks or any other appliance i.e. refrigerators with ice makers, washing machines, etc., which may have been damaged as a result of the water crisis.
10) A Flint-Wide Environmental Assessment Must Occur to Determine and Address Other Risks: Throughout the City of Flint, there are other environmental issues including the residual contamination from prior industrial operations that are still underground. A thorough assessment and implementation of a remediation plan are essential.
11) Pro-Bono Legal Advice Must Be Available to All: Provide free legal guidance and support residents engaged in cases from custody issues surrounding parental rights when the home is deemed unsafe by another parent, to future cases with people engaged in crimes due to effects of lead on behavior, or children whose future is truncated due to learning problems.
12) Multi-Disciplinary Studies Must Be Conducted to Assess Impacts and Needs Related to the Crisis: Concerns have arisen regarding chemicals/substances in addition to the lead in the water, which could have both short-term and long-term harmful health effects on the well-being of the citizens of Flint. Impacts must be assessed and remediation needs must be identified.
13) All Academic Reports Arising From the Water Crisis Must Be Available to Flint Residents: To ensure transparency and accountability, as well as ensuring that residents have full access to information, all academic reports that detail the findings regarding the effects of lead and other chemicals in the water of Flint, must be provided to the citizens of Flint.
14) Risk Advisories and Mitigation Instructions Must Be Factual, Timely and Consistently Delivered to All Residents: Ongoing, credible communication on most current fact-based information must be provided routinely and proactively by relevant authorities.
15) Information Sharing and Service Delivery Must Be Accessible to All: Methods of delivering information and services must be linguistically and culturally appropriate for various populations, including racial and ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities, undocumented persons, formerly incarcerated persons, persons with low literacy, and non-English speakers.
16) Water Distribution by the National Guard Must Be Replaced by Local Youth Labor: Supervised youth must be given this opportunity to receive no less than minimum wages rate for delivering water to homes during daylight hours as well as collecting and recycling the extensive water bottle waste that will result.
17) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Must Be Accessible for All Residents: In the short term, to mitigate the damage of lead in human systems, all residents must have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. For the long term the city should have institutionalized access to fresh fruits and vegetables through locally owned grocers/famers markets.
18) Equitable Redevelopment Must Include Anti-Displacement Measures: In the context of redevelopment of Flint in the aftermath of this crisis and as part of the Master Plan as a working document, and with the threat of 80% of homes slated to be demolished on North Side of Flint where the majority of African Americans reside, there must be a re-evaluation and revision of the Master Plan through an inclusive process that prioritizes stability and avoids displacement. Community Benefits Agreements must be negotiated with all developers.
19) Jobs, Contracts, and Other Economic Benefits Must Go to Local Residents: In Flint, there are multiple business and educational institutions, workers, entrepreneurs, expertise, with resources capable of re-designing and rebuilding Flint to become a city of the future. Local hire and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) provisions/ordinances must be established in advance of the coming wave of redevelopment projects.
20) Small Business Owners and Prospective Workers Must Have Access to Capacity Building: Free skilled trades training should be provided for the citizens of Flint, with guaranteed provision of employment opportunities for youth and other interested persons in civil engineering, pipefitting and plumbing. Local contractors must receive support for certifications, equipment/supplies, and back office functions needed to be competitive.