“I want to be president,” 9-year-old Mari Copeny told Andrea Gonzalez-Ramirez from Refinery 29. “I’m going to run for president in 2044.”
Lots of kids have big dreams, but this young activist from Flint, Michigan has a good idea of what she’s signing up for. Over the past year, she’s become the most powerful voice for her hometown since Michael Moore. Thanks to Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP-run state legislature’s draconian budget cuts, Flint has been subjected to toxic drinking water for the past three years.
In her latest public appearance, Mari Copeny — better known as “Little Miss Flint” — told the crowd at Saturday’s March for Science:
“Listen to me: When we don’t believe in science, and especially when our government doesn’t believe in science, kids get hurt.”
That sums up the problem with our faux “Christian,” anti-science, fact-free “unified Republican government” in a nutshell. Here’s a video with her speech,
Mari Copeny’s unlikely journey all started last spring when the “Little Miss Flint” beauty pageant winner wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama. She wanted to talk with him about the Flint water crisis.
This Thursday I will be riding a bus to Washington, D.C. to watch the congressional hearings of our Governor Rick Snyder. I know this is probably an odd request but I would love for a chance to meet you or your wife.
Mari Copeny then charmingly added that a meeting would lift her and her neighbors’ spirits.
Barack Obama not only wrote back, he told her he was coming to Flint to “make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve.” The meeting went well. Obama had already committed $80 million to Michigan for Flint, but he pushed for more. In Dec. 2016, he signed a $10 billion water infrastructure bill from Congress that provides a $100 million grant to Flint for upgrading their water system.
— Little Miss Flint (@LittleMissFlint) May 5, 2016
Flash forward to 2017: “The water is still bad,” says Mari Copeny.
Alas, not much has changed in Flint since then. Mari Copeny told Refinery 29:
“The water is still bad. They haven’t fixed the water pipes. We need to use bottles of water for everything. Everything.”
“Next week it makes three years [since the crisis started.] Three years too long. It’s not better. And there are other places around the country with bad water too.”
Her mother, Loui “Lulu” Brazzell frets over the water crisis in Flint and its impact on her community and on the lives of her kids. Lead poisoning’s bad enough for adults. For children, the effects of long-term exposure to lead can lead to headaches, stomach pain, anemia, and permanent developmental and behavioral problems.
“[I’m] scared because I don’t know what the long-term effects are going to be. I know my kids are covered in rashes every time they touch the water.”
Yet Brazzell’s also proud of her daughter:
“At the same time, I couldn’t be more proud of my child, who refuses to stand down when people tell her that she can’t do something or people won’t listen to her. Because she has a way of making people listen.”
Little Miss Flint’s tweet below shows how people in Flint without good water filters take baths.
— Little Miss Flint (@LittleMissFlint) September 17, 2016
And on Weds. Mari Copeny tweeted that Flint had been without clean water for 1,090 days. That’s a long time to be subsidizing bottle water companies while being forced to pay your water bills for water you can’t drink, cook with, or bathe in.
— Little Miss Flint (@LittleMissFlint) April 20, 2017
Flint residents like Mari Copeny and her mom had a brief reprieve from paying for poisoned water. But in February, Rick Snyder and his fellow Republicans rammed a bill through to end state-funded water credits for the besieged city. State officials claim the water quality has improved, even though the state of Michigan has done nothing to improve it…And even though the GOP’s draconian budget cuts helped cause it in the first place. Flint’s former “Emergency Manager” Darrell Early was among those criminally charged for switching the city’s water source to save money.
On Thursday, 150 people turned out for a Town Hall meeting in Flint that was held in a church. City leaders vowed to continue getting their drinking water from Detroit instead of the new pipeline from the local Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA), but many of the protesters didn’t believe them.
To make matters worse., some genius decided to hold the meeting in a church, and church rules were enforced. People who refused to remove their hats were barred from the meeting and those who used profanity — which is hard to avoid when your leaders are trying to poison you — they were escorted out or arrested. Police told MLIVE six people were taken into custody. Apparently, separation of church and state no longer applies in this country.
Mass arrests at Flint Michigan Town Hall https://t.co/B4oPDv7h7f
— Tarun Bhaiya (@KhalTarun) April 22, 2017
Meanwhile, the people of Flint’s Republican opponents — who apparently don’t believe that human beings have a right to clean drinking water — grumbled about how everyone hates them.
— Chris (@LivingOn18) April 21, 2017
While people demanded accountability in Flint, Mari Copeny stood with protesters outside of the White House to deliver a scathing message for the GOP’s president Donald Trump.
“On the campaign trail, he promised he would fix Flint. Unfortunately, this was one promise that he failed to keep, just like his promise to make America great again.”
On Jan. 24, Not My President Donald Trump’s administration ordered the temporary suspension of our environmental protections. While it’s unclear whether this applies to any of the funding for Flint to upgrade its water system, this does not bode well.
Here’s a video with part of her speech.
Little Miss Flint remains very displeased with President Trump. "He was not so very nice to me at all." pic.twitter.com/3vlqt6f2tB
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) April 13, 2017
“Little Miss Flint” likely wasn’t surprised by Donald Trump’s failure to help the people of Flint: Her meeting with him last September didn’t seem to go so well.
The look on Little Miss Flint's face perfectly encapsulating the American electorate, 2016. pic.twitter.com/YbyqdwQ6V9
— Colin Dickey (@colindickey) September 15, 2016
On Saturday, Mari Copeny is speaking at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., as she did for the Women’s March in February.
Little Miss Flint Has a VERY Important Message for Donald Trump | Teen Vogue https://t.co/65RR7QaZ3y
— Teen Business (@TeenBizNetwork) February 21, 2017
And she’s dead serious about running for president…
— Little Miss Flint (@LittleMissFlint) April 18, 2017
In case you missed it, here’s a video with Mari Copeny explaining the Flint water crisis.