The access to clean water, the ability to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment; as well as having an access to a rigorous, inspiring, meaningful and purposeful education; is a right that should not be denied any of our children…
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
The poison of Flint Michigan is flowing everywhere the poor, and people of color live in our nation. This is the result of a national acceptance that we live in a top and bottom citizenship status based on race and class. The governor of Michigan essentially said that the poor, and the people of color in Flint are neither citizens of Michigan or the United States, and therefore we should not extend any rights and protections that they would naturally earn as members of a state and national family. It’s the abandonment and discarding of an entire city of people.
For sure Flint is one part of our entire national conversation that is poisoned by the most vile and hateful voices (the news media works hard at obscuring, and wrongly labeling it: “angry at the establishment voters”), this religious, racial, and reactionary rhetoric, eventually in places like Flint, turns into harmful and hurtful actions (or non-actions!) It speaks to, and for many who believe, that what happens to the children of the disenfranchised and politically disconnected does not matter. These evil people have made sure to build a wall of protection around their own children; insuring that no societal poisons enter their minds or bodies, or interferes with their children’s positive life possibilities and dreams. “Our children are safe”, they say. It’s the kind of cynicism that could only emerge from a fake “Christian” governor asking for fake prayer for Flint; he and his collaborators are the ultimate militant non-believers; not only do they renounce any concept of an ultimate divine system of universal justice and accountability; they even dare God to try to save the children of Flint from the life-long pain they have so callously inflicted on them.
It is a necessary death by many means that the poor and people of color must suffer. Death by civilian gun violence, or delivered officially by those who allegedly swore to serve and protect them. It is the death of poverty, housing that serves as the breeding ground for despair. It’s the economic recovery that never stopped by your block in Flint (Brooklyn, Birmingham, Atlanta, Chicago…). The chronic and long joblessness that leads to a hopeless sense of hope. It is the slow grade by grade death, stretch over many years of the criminal justice system incubators called public schools; “schools” designed to allow others to pay their children’s college tuition, while the students that earn them that money are filled with the poison of low expectations, with a toxic mix of disinterest and disregard for the necessity of nurturing human dreams and intellectual potential.
Those of us who are professional educators (and medical professionals) know that the destructive lead poison that was purposely distributed to the children of Flint, will have long-term, and in many cases irreversible negative effects on their ability to learn. If those Flint children also attend schools that are culturally poisoned by poor educational practices and low expectations; let’s be honest, those children don’t have a chance to realize their full academic potential.
Nothing short of a massive (billions) federal and state initiative that combines medical and educational interventions, can save the educational chances of these children. And their parents and community would not be wrong to take their case to the United Nations and the World Court of Justice; for they are truly victims of a state-sponsored governmental (and a national government that did not stop the state) crimes against their humanity, for this is a form of educationalcide, a crime against the children’s health, and educational future.