Flint City Officials to Hold Environmental Justice Summit

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WHAT:     Environmental Justice Summit
WHEN:    March 9-10, 2017
WHERE:  Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church  3502 Lapeer Road  Flint, MI  48503

FLINT, Mich. — Mayor Karen Weaver and Flint’s Chief Public Health Advisor, Dr. Pamela Pugh, have invited national environmental justice experts to join area residents in discussions centered on key aspects of environmental justice and public health issues in Flint. The Environmental Justice Summit will take place March 9-10, 2017, at Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church located at 3502 Lapeer Road in Flint. The event is free however, registration is required.

The summit will focus on a variety of topics related to environmental justice and engage residents in a collaborative problem solving process to develop a plan to ensure the inclusion of residents from low income communities, communities of color and others, as leaders work to rebuild Flint’s damaged infrastructure and recover from the man-made water disaster.

The summit will begin with a reception and listening session. Government, medical and public health officials, will come together with environmental and social justice experts to hear from residents and take note of their concerns regarding the Flint water crisis and environmental justice issues. Champions of the EJ Movement will also be recognized for their efforts.

The Weaver Administration is also co-sponsoring a Water Infrastructure Conference March 7-9, 2017. Local and national government officials will discuss the need for investment in critical water infrastructure and hopefully learn from what’s happened in Flint. The Mayor’s Office has also arranged for experts on environmental justice to speak at the Water Infrastructure Conference about, “Ensuring a Strong and Just Foundation”.

“Environmental justice is an issue that must be discussed and addressed,” said Mayor Weaver. “By including this topic in conversations at the Water Infrastructure Conference we hope to stress the need for establishing authentic principles on environmental justice and ways to incorporate them into the assembling of sustainable infrastructure.” Weaver also said the timing of the upcoming Environmental Justice Summit is fitting, given the recent release of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s report on the Flint water crisis.

“Although the planning of the Environmental Justice Summit has been underway since October, the timing of it could not be better,” said Weaver. “The residents of Flint have long suffered from social and racial injustices and as captured in the Michigan Civil Rights Commission report, the Flint water crisis epitomizes such racism. I do not agree with all of the recommendations provided, and I’m disappointed that the report stops short of calling for an end to emergency management. However, I commend the commission for its critique on some of the historical factors that led to the tragedy which Flint residents continue to deal with the effects of.  The report alludes to the fact that in order for Flint to move forward, there needs to be an assurance that all government systems are rid of the residue left behind by previous unjust laws and practices. My staff and I are committed to engaging with residents on this matter, and plan to hold more events aimed at getting more elected officials and decision makers involved in helping to erase the lingering consequences of historical racism and ensure the health and well-being of the people of Flint.”

For more information on the Environmental Justice Summit and/or to RSVP for the events, please visit:  https://2017-flint-ej-summit.eventbrite.com/.

For more information on the Water Infrastructure Conference, or to register for the Water Infrastructure 101 Workshop which is open to the public, visit: www.michigan.gov/deqevents

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Kristin Moore

About the Author:

Kristin Moore is the Public Information/Communications Director for the City of Flint. She spent years working as a TV news reporter and anchor in and outside of Michigan. A Flint native, Kristin is excited to now be part of the team working to move Flint forward!
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