Never had I gone on a trip to another city in my life where I experienced a wide range of emotions. I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to go to Flint.
I just thought it would be something that would look good on my resume writing about how Flint has changed since the water crisis. But once I saw Flint for the first time, I saw a city in shambles. A tainted Flint River flows through a city that once thrived during the 1970’s with the rise of the GM Plant and Buick City. My classmates described the atmosphere in many ways: ‘Shocking, drastic and like a tornado blew through here.’ But how would I describe it?
On initial viewing, I would describe Flint as a city that is dying and has been forgotten from the rest of the world. It is also the city that, to me, shows how disconnected we can be from the people up top. While exploring the city, we have seen various reactions of people in Flint. Senses of anger, acceptance and positive thinking have all been felt when meeting the citizens of this city. It was interesting to find this response because if I were in their shoes and could not drink the water due to lead poisoning for years now, I would just be angry all the time.
Despite this (the effects of the water crisis and the economics of the city), people are still moving forward. From the University of Michigan-Flint to B’s Bowling Alley, Magoo’s Pet Outlet Store to Blackstone’s, communities are still being built in Flint. They are handling their current situation in ways I would not have thought of. The people of Flint are still living their lives as normal even with the addition of getting bottles upon bottles of water every week.
Since the water in Flint will not be safe to drink until at least 2021, it is amazing how many citizens won’t let it ruin their daily lives. It started to make me wonder how a bigger city (i.e. Milwaukee) would handle a water crisis on this scale.
The government has a lot on its plate as is; adding another city with tainted water might make things even more complicated. If something were to happen, I would hope people in Milwaukee and other big cities would handle it the same way it has been handled by the people of Flint.
To bring it back to my original question, ‘How I would describe Flint?’ I would now describe it as a city that is still standing and is rebuilding into something better. In eulogies, you hear the phrase, ‘gone but not forgotten.’ Here is what I would like to say for those who have not heard anything from Flint since media coverage has left. This is not a eulogy, but it is a time for recollection. As the river flows through town, Flint is a forgotten city, but it is not gone.