The Resistance is Growing: Dispatches from Flint to Washington, DC

People all over the United States are fed up with attacks on our air, our water, and our future. At Green For All we are building a future to fight for every.single.day. Let me shed some light on our actions since our founder, Van Jones launched #FixThePipes for Flint on April 20th.

Why Flint now? Just look. A young mom in Flint took this video from her bathroom on April 15th:

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Too many people think the water crisis is over.

You might not know that families are having their water shut off and facing home foreclosures because they can’t pay the highest water bills in the country for water that is still toxic. Now is the time to act. If others won’t, we must step in and #FixThePipes!

Green For All has since brought on Detroit hip hop artist Big Sean, Russell Simmons, Frances Fisher, Common, and several others. The #FixThePipes campaign has been covered by Fast Company, The Afro, Our Weekly LA, All Hip Hop and other outlets. Together over 250 of you have donated more than the $10,000 needed to replace pipes in our first Flint home. And we’re just getting started!

On April 22nd our Director, Vien Truong, celebrated Earth Day with a speech about growing green prosperity and justice for all at the March for Science in San Francisco. It was one of 600 marches around the world led by scientists defending the role of science in policy and society.

The following Tuesday April 25th, my colleague Kim Noble was in Flint standing with families at a rally to mark THREE YEARS since Flint’s water was poisoned.

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What Kim shared from her visit is heartbreaking:

  • I met a Pastor whose 5 year old grandson Jaden has been impacted by drinking the polluted water. He and his daughter have noticed how Jaden’s behavior and learning ability has been impacted.

  • I spoke to a woman who’s having a hard time trusting her government after getting a $1097 water bill for toxic water when she had a new meter installed.

  • I saw a woman who had clumps of hair fall out simply from taking a shower in the water the government claims is safe.

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  • I met so many good people who are sick, broke, and still fighting for clean water with tremendous spirit and determination. They expressed how important it is that people not forget about them.

We took the fight from Flint to Washington, DC that weekend.

On Saturday April 29th, the Green For All team showed up with frontline community leaders and 200,000 people at the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice (Peoples Climate March) in Washington, DC with a message: help us #FixThePipes. The heat was pushing 90 but the people were full of life and love. NowThis captured why Van Jones and Vien Truong joined the march.

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So what does a march about climate change have to do with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan? Everything.

If we can’t fix the pipes in Flint, how are we going to take on the corporate elite and tackle the worst pollution in this country? Where are big coal, oil, gas, and other polluters dumping their waste right now? It’s places like Flint. Low-income. Often communities of color. Often with little political might and a history of disinvestment.

The way to build a future to fight for is by putting families and workers at the frontlines of pollution first. That starts with Flint, home to the worst environmental racism we’ve seen.

The crowd’s energy was palpable. We ran into energized people with homemade #GreenForAll signs (they did it completely on their own):

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We met several people from Flint including Roger Cook. Roger is a union member in Buffalo, NY who grew up in Flint. He had this to say to the people of Flint: "I used to drink Flint water - took it out of Lake Huron. Flint is still a proud town. Stand up - you’ve awakened the whole nation to what’s going on with our water systems."

Our Director, Vien Truong spoke to RealNews about Flint and climate justice. We met a lot of new friends who donated to #FixThePipes by texting FLINT to 202-517-8583. The hosts of the No Place Like Home podcast encouraged their audience to #FixThePipes:

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Since the Peoples Climate March we’ve gotten to see how strong the people of Flint really are.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who battled city officials to prove that the water’s lead levels were dangerously high, has joined former Michigan politician Bobby Crim in promoting the Crim 10-miler race. Their goal is to help Flint kids use exercise to combat the negative effects of lead exposure.

Meanwhile the always inspiring Little Miss Flint tweeted a public THANK YOU to all the supporters and reached out to us to ask how else she can help us help Flint.

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On Sunday, she recorded this amazing Mother’s Day message for the moms in Flint and around the world:

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While Flint has been our focus, we’ve gone beyond as well, standing with EPA workers in Boston, supporting immigrants and workers on May Day, and advancing #FrontlinesFirst climate solutions.

I am inspired by all those who have marched for science, for climate justice, and for the future of Flint and frontline communities everywhere. There is still so much to do, but with millions of people in this country and around the world who care about climate change and clean water, I’m confident that we can #FixThePipes and bring clean water back to the people of Flint.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay tuned to this campaign and all of our work.

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Josh Lynch is Director of Field Strategy for Green For All. He leads Northeast climate policy campaigns and supporter communications. Josh is co-founder of the Power Shift Network and has a background in clean tech and climate advocacy. He is a pasta-loving, karaoke-singing dad from Boston with a passion for bringing together unlikely allies to build more livable, just, and joyful communities. 

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Shay Orent is a volunteer with Green For All. She has worked in energy efficiency and campaigned for social justice across a broad spectrum of issues. She just moved back to the U.S. from New Zealand with the hope of becoming an active participant in this unique political moment. She enjoys writing, seeking out vegan food, and hiking (especially in New Zealand). She dreams of building a society where equality and compassion are the laws of the land.

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