During the heights of the water crisis, Lendra Brown like many other Flint residents, believed officials when they claimed the water was fine. Years have passed, and she still bears the emotional and physical scars…
In 2014 Nakiya Wakes and her two children moved to Michigan from Indiana for a fresh start. Soon after, she learned her family was growing. Unbeknownst to her, she was moving to Flint during the heights of the water crisis. Her hopes were soon dashed. In addition to suffering multiple miscarriages Wakes began to notice significant behavioral issues in her son, Jaylon. A year after the switch Jaylon was suspended from school saw her son being suspended over 50 times. Today, Nakiya still does not trust the water and never will. For Nakiya it wasn’t just the pipes that were corroded…her trust in the city, state and federal government is forever damaged.
Claire McClinton is a widely respected figure in the community. The child of autoworkers, a former UAW worker and a spokesperson for the Democracy Defense League, Ms. McClinton has been for many years a stalwart of labor rights and democracy. Claire, is able to, like few others, communicate the connections between corporate interests and the Flint Water Crisis
Soon after the city’s switch to the Flint River, Lee-Anne Walters, along with other residents knew something was wrong. Despite being dismissed and disregarded by various local, state and federal officials, Walters did not give up. The mother of four taught herself about water distribution systems and water chemistry and discovered that the city was not using corrosion controls. Her actions thereafter helped saved thousands from further exposure to lead contaminated water.
Jennifer Carrera is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. She has a joint appointment between the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program. Her research employs an environmental justice perspective to focus on differential access to environmental resources such as water and its impact on the well-being of individuals in marginalized communities.
Keri Weber as an activist is as vocal as they come. Unafraid to tell it how she sees it. Keri alongside many other Flint mothers spoke truth to power. Tough and compassionate, Weber embodies some of the best qualities of Flint.
Melissa Mays played a crucial role in breaking through the media blackout, during the early stages of the Flint Water Crisis. Mays and her husband formed ‘Water You Fighting For’ as a source of accurate research, advocacy, support, outreach, and community empowerment. A nationally known figure in the Flint Water Crisis, Mays continues to fight to ensure that local, state and federal officials are held accountable for their role in the crisis.
Marc Edwards is a civil engineering/environmental engineer and the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. He is a leading expert on water treatment and corrosion. Though initially skeptical of mixing science and activism, Edwards and his team developed a model of investigative science and advocacy that included Freedom of Information Act requests to demonstrate and publicize government agency misconduct.
Soon after Bilal Tawwab took over as Superintendent of Flint Community Schools, it was announced that there was widespread lead poisoning among the city’s children. Knowing the potentially devastating effects of lead on children, Tawwab and his school board moved quickly to shut off the water in every district building, and over the course of one weekend reorganized food preparation for children.
As education attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, Kristin Totten is keenly aware of the many challenges facing children who have been exposed to high levels of lead. Totten through tireless advocacy, seeks to ensure that the resources to ensure that the children of Flint realize their fullest potential are available.
Dan Kildee (D-MI 5th District) has long been a voice for Michigan’s older, industrial cities. In the height of the water crisis, Congressman Kildee spearheaded the effort to bring relief to Flint families. Kildee is currently in his second term in Congress.
Attorney Valdemar Washington has previously served on the circuit bench for about 10 years before retiring in 1995. He has also served as state deputy treasurer for local government services. As a private practicing attorney Val Washington has more recently been representing residents seeking to force the city of Flint to rollback its water rates.
Scott Smith, formerly the chief technology officer & investigator for Water Defense, is the founder, CEO and owner of AquaFlex Holdings LLC. He is the inventor of an open-cell polyolefin foam technology used to detect/remove oil and chemicals in water. Scott is also a graduate of Harvard Business School.
Robert Kleine was the 43rd State Treasurer of Michigan, serving from 2006 to 2010 under the Granholm administration.
Dayne Walling served as mayor during the peak of the Flint water crisis as emergency managers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder ran the city's business, including decisions about its water source. Walling was later defeated by Karen Weaver in an election where the water crisis was a dominant theme.