NAACP leaders announce campaign to achieve justice in Flint, introduce new 20-point plan

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by Cynthia Price

A timeline, a deadline, and a price tag — that is what the NAACP, an organization that has been working to ensure the rights of people of color since 1909, is asking of the governor and the state in regards to the Flint water crisis.

National NAACP President Cornell William Brooks appeared at Flint’s Christ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Monday to demand some answers in terms of replacing the lead pipes that led to toxic water in the city.
He added that if those specifics are not forthcoming within 30 days,  “We’re going to call on the whole national NAACP membership to send bodies to Flint to engage in a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action.”

Contingents of NAACP supporters from around the state, including the Grand Rapids president Cle Jackson, joined Flint Branch President Frances Gilcreast and other local chapter members, the Concerned Pastors of Flint, members of the federal union AFGE, State NAACP President Yvonne White, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, and the mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver, who was repeatedly the subject of praise from participants.

The NAACP has also asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate what they are calling a civil rights situation in Flint.

At the same time, the group introduced a 20-point Community Priorities Plan to continue to address Flint’s problems and prevent such disasters happening elsewhere in Michigan.

Brooks stressed that the plan is an indication that the NAACP?intends to be here “for the long haul” as well as addressing immediate problems, He and other national leaders had held a town meeting on Jan. 26 in Flint to gather input on what was then a 15-point plan, and had incorporated suggestions as the number of priorities grew.

They include:

—repealing the Emergency Financial Manager Law;

—ensuring that risk advisories and mitigation instructions are factual and timely, and that they, along with services, are delivered to all;

—paying minimum wage to local youth to distribute bottled water;

—distributing fresh fruits and vegetables to help mitigate the damages of lead;

—examining water rates;

—providing free home inspections;

—investigating the crisis and imposing accountability measures;

—studying the health and learning impacts of lead, with results easily available to Flint residents;

—finding dedicated funding for long-term support systems;

—avoiding displacement as Flint redevelops;

—instituting and implementing the already-existing Environmental Justice Plan for the State of Michigan; and, most importantly,

—establishing a new, state-of-the-art water system for Flint.

During a question and answer period, one Flint mother asked that leaders go to the schools and help educate the students, because “my babies are really frightened.”