Note: I initially wrote this post for a group of dedicated Hillary supporters on Facebook. They wanted to be able to share it, so here ’tis.
Earlier today, I participated in a conference call with Hillary Clinton’s Senior Policy Advisor Maya Harris regarding the Flint Water Crisis. I think most of the Super Volunteers are already aware that Hillary went to Flint, where she met with local and state officials and also with parents (plus a few kids) who are affected by the crisis. Maya Harris was with Hillary and said that Hillary is VERY passionate about this.
I took notes throughout the call, as I always do. A funny moment came when Maya Harris said that Hillary was taking notes during her meeting with the state officials and all her staffers know what THAT means. So I guess Hillary and I are alike in that way.
Chelsea and two senior staffers are in Flint today on a fact-finding mission. They are looking for hurdles in the water distribution system– some people aren’t getting the bottled water that’s being handed out. (I’ve heard this elsewhere.) They also want to make plans to address the long-term needs of kids who are suffering from lead poisoning. The goal is to work with local people and agencies on the ground and stay in sync with them.
During the Q&A part of the conference call, I asked how we can contribute? By “we” I meant mostly Michiganders outside of Flint, but I think we all can help here. First, Hillary wants us to be aware of the nonprofits and community groups who are on the ground, so we can publicize their efforts. Second, she wants us to keep the public’s attention on this issue and make sure that there is adequate follow-through. A lot of times, a crisis like this gets a ton of publicity but then people forget about it. Hillary wants us to keep the pressure on elected officials to make Flint gets the funding it deserves.
Another caller asked about the larger context, about other communities beyond Flint that are dealing with similar problems. Hillary will soon be unveiling some new policy details regarding communities that have experienced disinvestment. These will be put in a frame of structural inequity and racism. They want us to circulate Hillary’s op-ed “There Are Too Many Flints.”
What impressed me about this call was how it was all about helping the people of Flint. Nobody mentioned Bernie Sanders or the Republicans or how to “spin” this issue. The people accusing Hillary of using the Flint Water Crisis to win votes are WRONG. I wholeheartedly believe that she would be doing exactly what she’s doing even if she wasn’t running for President. And she is making a difference– the officials at the meeting told Hillary that before she got involved, their concerns were discredited and there were a lot of delays. Hillary has been able to get things moving in a meaningful way.