President Barack Obama is set to visit the city of Flint, MI, this week. The reason for the visit stems from a letter written by 8-year-old Amariyanna Copeny, a resident of the city also known as Mari or “Little Miss Flint.”
Mari, a victim of the water crisis still plaguing the city today, wrote to the President to simply ask to meet with him and the First Lady. She was not expecting to get a reply from either them.
“My mom said chances are you will be too busy with more important things but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift peoples spirits,” Mari wrote to the president.
The city’s water crisis has just recently passed the two-year mark since the state made the decision to change Flint’s water source, resulting in numerous contaminants integrating into the water system, with lead being chief among them.
Lead exposure in children six years or younger can have harmful, lasting effects. In fact, exposure to lead makes up 600,000 of new cases of intellectual disabilities in children each year.
The exchange between the President and Mari sheds light on the crisis in Flint in a way not yet portrayed by the media. It focuses on the effects on the real future of Flint: its children.
Most media outlets have been producing stories detailing the mistakes the Michigan government made, but very few have focused on the effects of the crisis on children and their future development.
While politicians have been busy calling each other out for what they have and have not done, one little girl has managed to shift the discussion to shed light on the big picture. Not only has she gotten the attention of the media but the Commander-in-Chief himself.