Could the Flint Water Crisis Happen in Tallahassee?

Listen to Dr. Katrinell Davis’s Policy Pub here.

Since I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan,  I was very concerned when I heard about the issues with the public water.  These issues, according to most reports began in late April of 2014 when the State of Michigan, with the help of the City of Flint Emergency Manager, chose to switch from a Detroit water source to the Flint River, which is also known as the city’s local dump. Despite decades of not even being able to fish or swim in the Flint River due to health code violations, the State selected the Flint River as the new water source, supposedly as a cost cutting measure.  Years after the Rachel Maddow visits and the fundraising efforts, City of Flint residents still cannot drink the water without a filter and have been told to continue using these aids until 2019.

Last week, I had an opportunity to share my research on the Flint Water Crisis with FSU colleagues, students and community members at the Backwater Bistro restaurant near campus. We had a great exchange about the factors that contributed to the Flint Water Crisis and the steps that residents in Tallahassee ought to make to avoid water equity issues in our community. We discussed that water problems in Flint were not the result of a few missteps; instead, Flint’s current fight for safe and affordable water is the product of long-term benign neglect of the space and the residents.  We even explored root causes as well as the health effects of this public health event.  I was moved by the audience’s passion for this topic and encouraged to continue my work for environmental justice. Huge thanks to everyone who came out to show support and to voice their concerns about water equity issues.

Listen to Dr. Katrinell Davis’s Policy Pub here.

  Dr. Katrinell Davis is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and an associate in the African-American Studies Program. She studies  urban inequalities, poverty, and the social determinants of health.



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