Rev. Jackson calls for justice in water crisis

Posted at 11:54 PM, Jan 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 23:54:19-05

Men and women work around the clock at a Flint warehouse that's become a ground-zero distribution site to bring aid to families.
Just in the past week alone, more than 26,000 cased of bottled water, more than 50,000 water filters, and 4,700 water testing kits have been distributed across the city. And to date, water response teams have visited more than 16,000 households. These are all ramped up efforts following Gov. Snyder's emergency declaration Jan. 5.
"We're here to service them until a permanent solution can be found. We're distributing the water filters which will really greatly help and it will alleviate the need for us distributing so much bottled water," Red Cross warehouse director Shawn Scott-Fitzgerald said during a tour of the distribution warehouse.
But across town at the Heavenly Host Church of the Harvest, civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson said these short-term fixes are unsustainable for the long-term.
Calling Flint a "crime scene," Jackson said, "The people of Flint have been betrayed. They've been betrayed. They've been given poisoned water and told it's pure when it was corrosive and sick."
Federal relief funds are on the way after President Obama declared a federal emergency Saturday. City leaders want him to go a step further and declare a federal disaster, which would free up more money.
Flint's water became contaminated with lead in 2014 when the city switched its supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River to save money.
Melissa Mays, who has been an early face of the water crisis, said the tainted water caused numerous health issues for her and her two sons.
"This is ridiculous. These are young, healthy, strong young sons that I have, and I'm proud of my sons, but the fact that somebody did this to my children, they made this decision with no regard for human life and safety whatsoever, it is a fury that I hope no one else has to feel," Mays said.
In a city where bottled water has become the norm, she and others say the state and federal government can do better to ensure Flint residents will get not only short-term solutions, but long-term support.
A fund to help Flint children has been set up. Donations can be made by visiting
Flint Community Schools is also accepting donations and bottled water. People can help by calling 810-767-6030.