The veterans who just joined the indigenous protest to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota are heading to Flint, Michigan next.
While a date hasn’t yet been set for the trip to Flint, Wes Clark Jr., who organized a force of over 4,000 U.S. military veterans to mobilize for Standing Rock, said he’s planning a similar mobilization to help the people of Flint.
“This problem is all over the county. It’s got to be more than veterans,” Clark told the Flint Journal. “People have been treated wrong in this county for a long time.”
Flint resident Arthur Woodson, who is a veteran and a supporter of the Standing Rock protesters, said the veterans coming to Flint may help revive media attention on the community’s plight of tainted drinking water, and that the renewed public pressure could bring about an effective solution.
“All the media attention that was there brought more attention to Standing Rock. The government had a change of heart,” Woodson told the Journal.
In 2015, it was revealed that the Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s decision to switch drinking water sources from Lake Huron to the Flint River resulted in a mass outbreak of lead poisoning. Scientists discovered that water from the water people had been drinking since 2014 was 19 times more corrosive than the Lake Huron water the city had been purchasing from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department.
The corrosive elements in the city’s new drinking water supply further eroded the city’s aging water infrastructure, and fragments of the lead pipes supplying water to homes within the city made it into residents’ homes. A class-action lawsuit alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality didn’t treat the river water with an anti-corrosive agent, which would be a violation of federal law.
Flint resident and veteran George Grundy told local media that hearing the news of the contingent of veterans planning to showing up for Flint renewed his faith in “the human spirit.”
“These are people who have been just as oppressed and in some other forms more oppressed than black folks and to hear these people speak the name of Flint and know that Flint is in duress too and say that we are in their prayers that just does a lot to me,” Grundy told the Journal. “It just shows me that the human spirit is larger than any corporate entity and you can believe in your fellow person because it’s worth it.”
Organizer Wes Clark Jr. did not immediately respond to USUncut.com’s requests for comment.
Zach Cartwright is an activist and author from Richmond, Virginia. He enjoys writing about politics, government, and the media. Send him an email at [email protected], and follow his work on the Public Banking Institute blog.