Who We Are
Mission Flint is a grassroots organization dedicated to providing short-term relief and developing long-term solutions to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, MI. We began our work in the summer of 2016, building a core team in NYC to facilitate a coalition of activists from around the country in efforts to ease the symptoms of the crisis, and ultimately support the citizens in finding a solution. Activists from all political strains came together to distribute bottled water to areas of Flint in which access to clean water is fleeting.
Though the state government opened bottled water distribution sites after mildly acknowledging the gravity of the water crisis, it was only a minor help to some residents. These sites were inaccessible to (1) low-income citizens without a vehicle and (2) elderly or disabled citizens. In our inception, these two groups served as primary targets of distribution due to their heightened vulnerability. By focusing on water drops and community events, we are able to get the resources directly to the people of Flint.
Our Work Moving Forward
We are now four long, tumultuous years into the water crisis. In many ways, things have gotten worse. Schools have shut down, entire blocks are boarded up, economic anxiety grips the community. The state has remained in a constant flux of disseminating resources sporadically, cutting programs arbitrarily, and providing no real clear path forward. The water distribution sites which functioned as a band-aid for the mobile, able-bodied population are gone; leading to an expansion in Mission Flint’s distribution areas.
While we still distribute to our initial low-income, elderly, and disabled areas; we have built enough of a presence within the community to create our own pop-up water distribution sites throughout Flint. Working with our tight-knit network of local activist and utilizing the power of social media, we are able to stop at notable landmarks like City Hall, unload several pallets of water, and attracts enough attention from the community to disseminate the cases of bottled water in a timely manner. We have established partnerships with local organizations like Fli-Ladies Empowerment and Veterans Of Now, and maintain an ongoing working relationship with community centers like the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Center. We’ve volunteered at events all over Flint, and have proven a capacity to manage the logistics for water drops regardless of size or available labor power.
Though this is promising, the difficulties we face moving forward are daunting. The people of Flint still need a steady stream of services and resources available to them through organizations like ours. Yet, as the many interconnected social elements of the water crisis continue to exponentially decline, we desperately require a much more impassioned, sustained financial and political support from the rest of the country. Whether the country coalesces around this issue will, over the course of the next decade, determine the fate of Flint and the future of clean water in America.
Lauren Kiele DeLeon
Director of Outreach & Development
Head of EMT Team