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POLITICAL Awareness & Involvement DST Cares About Michigan’s Forgotten Cities Members of Flint Alumnae host water drive during their 6th Annual Basic Needs Fair in Flint, Michi-gan s74 DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, INC. BY KIM TRENT As citizens of two Michi-gan cities grapple with the dire consequenc-es of high-profile failures of government, Delta Sigma The-ta Sorority, Inc. is on the front lines of efforts to bring them relief and justice. Muddied Waters of Flint The contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water supply has drawn worldwide scru-tiny. In 2014, a state official fast-tracked plans to switch the source of the city’s water supply from Lake Huron via the Detroit water system to the Flint River. Because of the corrosiveness of the Flint Riv-er, aging pipes leached lead into the city’s water supply. While citizens and environmentalists com-plained about Flint’s water quali-ty after the switch, state and feder-al officials declared the water safe for consumption. Subsequent stud-ies concluded that blood lead levels in Flint children had almost doubled since the water system switch. Last October, Flint’s water sys-tem was reconnected to the Detroit system, but some health experts say the situation has created catastroph-ic long-term public health threats for Flint, which has a 56 percent Af-rican American population. Elevat-ed lead levels in children can lead to a wide range of lasting health prob-lems ranging from anemia to life-long behavioral and learning problems. The health effects of lead poisoning in young children are irreversible. Delta Sigma Theta’s Flint Alum-nae Chapter created a four-point plan to offer both program and pub-lic policy solutions to Flint’s water crisis, including: 1. Hosting a water drive during the chapter’s sixth annual “Basic Needs Fair” in March. 2. A fundraising effort to help the chapter purchase, store and transport water. The chapter’s focus has been supplying water for after-school programs and other community service orga-nizations. Donations can also be mailed directly to the Flint Alum-nae Chapter at P.O. Box 13198 Flint, MI 48501 (Please write “wa-ter” on your check’s memo line) 3. The creation and distribution of up to 10,000 informational cards answering vital frequently asked questions about water safety protocols. 4. A social action initiative to chal-lenge the city’s decision to send bills and shut-off notices for tox-ic water. in March 2015. PHOTO COURTESY OF FLINT ALUMNAE CHAPTER


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