I had to have a plumber fix a few leaky faucets at my house today and he needed to shut off the water for two hours. I had time to prepare and made sure I wouldn’t need to use any water. The crisis in Flint, Michigan has been on my mind for months. But today, during the meager two hours when I used bottled water to clean my toddler’s hands and face, I could not stop thinking about families living in Flint. What makes this crisis so jarring is not only how flat out criminal it is to poison children’s water but also how everyday living could become so burdensome.
Every parent everywhere already does a major juggling act whether they are at home with their kid(s) or working. There are activities, school programs, snacks, naps for the little ones (hopefully!), mealtimes, more snacks—not to mention long commutes, inflexible work schedules, and the some of the worst paid leave policies of any developed nation.
The daily choreography and high wire act that is part of family life is, frankly, enough to handle. It’s fun for sure, but it’s exhausting. Families are already stretched thin and to think about not being able to use your tap water and—even more disturbing—to stay awake at night wondering about your children’s health and development AFTER being exposed to toxic water is unfathomable. But here we are.
We have to keep Flint families in the news and on our minds. We have to talk about this crisis every day, and investigate the likely many other communities where the drinking water is not safe.
Right now there is a bill in the Senate to provide funding for water pipe replacement and critical health services. S.2579 is the first step in what will need to be a long process to restore Flint and ensure residents are safe. But Senate leadership has not scheduled a vote on this important legislation. What will it take for the Senate to act?
Perhaps we should shut off the water in Senators’ homes until the residents of Flint can safely drink, bathe, and cook using tap water.
Tell your Senators that inaction is downright wrong.