Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Commitment to Flint
By Floyd Fuller
Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Flint Sunday, February 7th, and spoke to a Standing Room only audience at House of Prayer Baptist Church where Elder Kenneth Stewart is Pastor. State and Local Officials were present from all over the State and Country. In recent news and media, Flint has been a topic of much discussion regarding Flint’s terrible water predicament. Secretary Clinton came to Flint to give her view on this crisis. The following is her view and commitment to our community:
“For nearly two years Flint’s water was poisoned. I’m here today because for nearly two years mothers and fathers were voicing concerns about the water’s color, about its smell, about the rashes it gave, those who were bathing in it. And for nearly two years you were told, Flint was told the water was safe.
“I just met with two young mothers who have told me the stories of their experiences and particularly what has happened to their children, emergency room visits that had never occurred before, behavioral problems in school that had never been a problem before. Worries about what is down the road in terms of the development and life and opportunities of these precious children.”She stated that the young woman was in her 30s, and that the woman told her she was not supposed to be talking to her friends about how much medication they were taking or what stresses she was under, but that’s what they were talking about now.
“I thank the elected officials who are here.”She asked acknowledged the pastors that were present and asked Pastor Stewart to stand and said to him“I appreciate greatly the work that they are doing in the city and county and on the state and federal level. I had the opportunity to meet with your Senator and my friend Debbie Stabenow who is working hard along with your other Senator, Gary Peters and the congressman who are here. I’m have been trying to get help and support and help from the federal government, but I want you to know that this has to be a National priority not just for today or tomorrow! Getting water is not optional my friends! It is not a luxury! I said weeks ago if what had been happening in Flint what if it was happening in Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield Hills I think we all know we would have had the solution yesterday!” This is not merely unacceptable and wrong thoughit is both! What happened in Flint is immoral! Children of Flint are just a precious as the children of any other part! They are just as deserving of good health care and good education and of bright futures!”
“My first job at out of Law School was working for the most extraordinary Marian Able at children’s defense fund. I went to work there because I believed in the lessons and examples of my mother and my church that every child that, every single child has the chance to live up to their God-given potential. We don’t yet know how many children were affected by that poison. We don’t yet know how many challenges they will face in the years ahead. But what we do know, we know that even a single child suffering that poisoning due to the State’s neglect is one child too many. We also know we need action now, not next month not next year not down the road, we need action now!”
Debbie Stabenow and Peters and your other congressional representatives are working to pass and amendment to get 200 million dollars to fix Flint’s water condition. Congress needs to pass that bill immediately! This is not politics as usual Flint should be able to start making the repairs you need to restore safe water as soon as possible. It’s not just the physical infrastructure that needs to be fixed, it’s the human beings. We need to do so much more than provide health care and educational supports for Flint’s children. The test for lead and itseffects on ongoing basis and treat them. You can’t just take one test and know you’re safe. We need to make sure Flint’s children are getting good nutrition to help counter the effects of the lead. We need to expand early Head Start, nurse home visiting programs, special education funding all of which much be used to invest in the damage of the lead poisoning. I have seen for myself my friends the incredible good work programs like these can do.”
“For 8 years I’ve represented New York, our problem with lead poisoning was not the water, it was a lead based paint used on the old houses that people lived in. It would start crumbling and turning into dust. There were little toddlers crawling on the floor picking things up and licking them as little babies do. It was breathing it. And we had as so many places especially in New England and the Atlantic and the Mid-west and alot of older houses, stocked with a lot challenges, we had problems. So, as a Senator I fought for children struggle to bear heavy burdens and I’ll fight for you in Flint no matter how long it takes!”
“We also need to repair the bonds of trust that have been broken here in Flint. That means giving you transparent information about every part of the response to this crisis. The people of this community should know what the plan is to repair the infrastructure, when the work will be done in your neighborhood. You should know if you need to replace pipes and fixtures in your own homes. The mayor and I were just talking, I’m going to figure out if there is some way that we can empower and hire citizens of Flint to do the work that needs to be done in this city. I think we should send more AmeriCorps workers to come here as we put young people to work in Flint, working side by side with those who guard in the National Service and our federal government and realize that this is a problem that affects Flint, but I dare say there are other communities with similar problems. This is not the only place where children are being harmed by what they breathe and what they eat. You should have all the information you need to know what this means for your children and grandchildren. What’s true about lead poisoning and what isn’t. What the challenges are and what you can do to help and where you can turn to help.”
“I know that this will take time and it’s not going to be easy, but repairing trust is as important as repairing pipes! We need to lift each other up again. We have to trust each other, to count on each other to truly be our brothers and our sisters keepers!”
“When I first learned about what was happening here I was so angry; and I was outraged and I know you must feel the exactly the same. When I spoke to those young women before coming out here, when I looked at the children of one of them, I was just heartsick. You try to do everything right don’t you as a parent and grandparent you want the best for those children, those gifts, but something out of your control and something you thought you could trust has made it so much harder as it erects obstacles where there weren’t any before.”
“I wanted to come today to support your mayor, other officials who are fighting for you also to support the faith community which I know the Pastors will have to play an important role in working to get information out and organizing people and trying to empower members of congregations. I want you to understand that this is a personal commitment; I will stand with you every step of the way, I will not for one minute forget about you or forget about your children. I will do everything can to help you get back up, to get the strength and resilience flowing through this community because what happened here should never have happened!”
Secretary Clinton’s gave a personal note regarding grandchild and how she couldn’t imagine her feelings of knowing if her grandchild was a child that she had seen in Flint.
“We know we need more action, do not grow weary doing good, do not get discouraged, do not give up, the road is long and I know that there will be a lot of bumps along its way, but this is the most important work we are ever called to do, to reach out in every way we can no matter who we are, to lend that helping hand, that support, that love, that sense of possibility again for every single person in Flint.
“I will be there with you, and I will make sure in any way I can that America stays with you too. And I look forward to coming back to Flint, to seeing this community rise, rise again; rise with determination, resilience, support, service, leadership, we can do this. Let’s make sure we take care of the people of Flint and give every child a chance to lived up to his or her God-given potential!”