E. Hill De Loney, Kent Key, Nayyirah Shariff, Chris Kolb, and moderator Donald Vereen and host Paula Lantz discuss how the local public can engage in policy-focused dialogue. October, 2016.
>> Susan Collins: Good afternoon. I'm Susan Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean here at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and I'm really pleased that you are here and able to join us for a very important conversation. As you know, the water crisis in Flint is ongoing, and we are particularly delighted to have members of the community here to share perspectives as well as talking about policy options. Well, in a moment I will introduce our moderator, Dr. Don Vereen. And he will have the honor of more formally introducing each of our distinguished panel. But for now I would simply like to offer a very warm welcome from the Ford School to Mr. Kolb, Ms. De Loney, Ms. Shariff, and Dr. Key. Welcome we're delighted to have you here.
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Well, today's program would not have been possible without generous support from the Gilbert Omenn and Martha Darling Health Policy Fund, and so we're very grateful to them as well. I'd also like to remember a very special Ford School alumna and friend, Eunice Burns, who passed away on Friday. Throughout her life she was a true champion for good water policy and education. And I know that if at all possible she would have been with us today. And so it does seem like a fitting tribute this Monday to be hosting this very special panel. And now it is my pleasure to introduce our moderator, Dr. Donald Vereen. Don is an accomplished physician with a background in public health and many years of policy experience working for the White House and NIH before coming to the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. He's worked on a wide range of policy issues, including substance abuse treatment and prevention, doping and sports, and violence as a public health issue. And throughout, he has been a champion for using data to make decisions, and to inform policy, and also for direct engagement with community partners. He's also my husband and my better half for 27 wonderful years. And so it -- [applause] aww! So that means that I know first-hand not only about his substantive knowledge of the situation in Flint, but also his commitment, his engagement, and his passion with what's going on there. And so it's really fitting to have him here as our moderator. And we're delighted to welcome him back to the Ford School in that capacity. I'd also like to introduce my colleague, Paula Lantz, who will help facilitate the audience questions today. Paula is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs here at the Ford School, and she has led the efforts on our behalf as part of organizing today's panel, really taking special care to ensure that we are able to hear perspectives from the community, which is so often not featured in discussions like this. So Paula, thank you very much. We appreciate your efforts.
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And you have -- you've beat me to it, because my next line was going to be please join me in a welcome to all of our participants, and I think we've already done that [applause]. So before we begin, just a word about the format. Don Vereen will first briefly introduce our panel, and he'll help to frame the discussion that we'll have today. Next, our panelists will each offer introductory remarks. And then Don will moderate a discussion before we open things up for questions from the audience. So I'd like to remind you that you should have received cards when you came in. Please write your questions on those cards, and about 4:40 or so Ford School staff will start walking up and down the aisles to collect your cards. If you're watching us online, please use Twitter to send your questions to us, and use the #PolicyTalks. And so with no further ado I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Don Vereen to the podium.
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>> Donald Vereen: Good afternoon. It really is a pleasure to be here right now. And before we get started I, too, want to give a special, special thanks to the Ford School for having the idea to do this. The Dean, in particular, and Paula Lantz, and Cliff Martin for your help in organizing this. This is a bit unusual, but there is a lot of really good data sitting here. And appreciate the forum that you've organized for this to happen. I'm going to make a statement and then I'm going to introduce the members of the panel. There a part -- and the reason I'm giving this statement first and not introducing them first is because there is a big, broad issue that they've all been working on that is more important than them as individuals. And you'll see from their titles how they fit into this topic and what perspectives they can bring directly to you. And hopefully you will engage in a conversation with them and be more learned about the issues before us as this activity proceeds. The Flint water crisis is a perfect storm of events and conditions that culminated in the prolonged contamination of water in the city of Flint. These conditions and events included the biology of toxic river water running through pipes inadequately prepared for that water, a community -- a chronically stressed and challenged community whose observations, reports, and complaints about the quality of the drinking water went unheeded or at best got anemic responses by all levels of government, local, county, state, regional, and yes, federal. For more than two years before the crisis the community was up in arms about the quality of the water. The city of Flint is under -- or was under the control of an emergency manager, an important backdrop that will be discussed. The state and the entire country is facing a backlog of infrastructure improvements. And Flint right now is a focal point of that challenge for this country, the state, and the city. News reports have contained specifics like what happened in Flint? When did it happen? Who made it happen? When did responsible officials know? What did they know and when? What could be ascertained from emails without even the help of WikiLeaks or the Russian government? But reports of and from the victims of this disaster have been sparse. How are the children doing -- the children whose developing brains were exposed to high levels of lead for who knows how long? What has been put in place for them? How are the citizens of Flint coping with a life that requires the daily use of a case of bottled water to brush their teeth, bathe, rinse, and cook their food, and everything else that goes along with living a normal life? Now there are water filters, and the water is apparently okay enough to bathe in, to take a shower in. But there are still some things that are unclear, and the population is living in a state of unsuredness. Also sparsely reported are reports on the context of this perfect storm, developed within the conditions that made the perfect storm possible and the community, the victims of this manmade disaster. On October 21st, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder appointed a five-member Flint Water Taskforce. That taskforce report which came out approximately six months ago begins with the following statement, "The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice." And the it goes on to state that, "The Flint water crisis is also a story, however, of something that did work, the critical role played by enraged Flint citizens, by individuals both inside and outside of the government who had the expertise and willingness to question and challenge government leadership, and by members of the free press." So this panel will in part serve as an update of what has happened in the last six months. But you'll also be introduced to issues that occurred in the background. And let me introduce the panel. The first person who will preset to you is Chris Kolb, a member of that taskforce and an author of that report. He is the President of the Michigan Environmental Council. He will be followed by Mrs. E. Hill De Loney. She is the Executive Director of the Flint Odyssey House Health Awareness Center. She will be followed by Nayyirah Shariff. She is from the Flint Democracy League and the Director of Flint Rising. And last but not least, Dr. Kent Key will speak. He is at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and formerly of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. So with that introduction, let's have Chris start. And again, this will be followed by questions. I get to ask the first one. And then hopefully a dialogue after that. Take it away, Chris.
>> Chris Kolb: Thank you, and thank you all for being here, and thank you to the Ford School of Public Policy for the invitation to speak. Often when I've been speaking about Flint I get about 35 minutes and then open up for questions, but I'll be a lot shorter today. They asked me really to kind of go over what the taskforce did, the process, its findings and recommendations. And so I'll try to keep myself to that. It was almost about a year ago today when I was -- I received the phone call from the Governor's Office. And I was on my way from Ann Arbor to Detroit to meet with a bunch of folks who were going to be working on regional transit issues -- and it's actually the ballot initiative that you have before us here in Southeast Michigan. And my phone rang, and I don't know about you, but when I'm driving I don't always pick up the phone unless I know who it is and what they may be wanting. And there's only a couple of people who I really will pick up the phone for, and one of them is my mother. And you know, the reason I do that is I know if I don't take that first phone call, the second one is going to be a lot worse [laughter]. But I noticed that the caller ID told me it was the Governor's Office, and they don't usually call me, you know, just to say, "Hey, how you doing? What's your day like?" It usually means there's something up, I've done something wrong, or my organization has gotten underneath their skin. So it was a little like, "Okay, let's see what they want." And it was that phone call that would change not only my workload and focus for the next five months, but it would also change my entire perspective on environmental protection for myself and for my organization as well. I was asked in that phone call if I would co-chair the Governor's Flint Water Advisory Taskforce. And I've had people who have questioned my willingness to participate in it. But I think that if the Governor asks you, regardless of who that Governor is, to do something that you think will be for the good of the state, there's really only one answer, and that answer is yes. We worked for five months to come up with the report. When we held our press conference in March of last -- of this year, I said that I thought the Flint water crisis was a toxic brew of ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance. The Attorney General has now added criminal to that list as well. And it all could have been avoided and should never have happened in the first place. We were a five-member task force, including Dr. Matt Davis, formerly of the Ford School; myself; Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, a pediatrician from Flint; Eric Rothstein, who was a national water industry management consultant; and Ken Sikkema was the other co-chair, and Ken is a Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and has previously served 20 years in the Michigan legislature, including being the majority leader of the senate. We were asked to really conduct an independent review of the contamination of the Flint water supply, basically what happened, why it occurred, and what could be done to prevent it from ever happening again? We interviewed and talked with over 63 individuals. We read pages -- thousands and thousands of emails, public documents. The interviews that we conducted were all voluntary. The individuals were not under oath. We basically had a discussion with them. We would go in, introduce ourselves, tell them what our mission was, and we asked them to tell us what they knew that could help us in making our report. And for the most part we got pretty good cooperation from them. So who are these types -- who are the people we interviewed? Well, we interviewed the DEQ employees, Department of Environmental Quality, who had made decisions on Flint and the Flint drinking water, including the head of the Department of Environmental Quality. We talked to all the front -- not all, but many of the frontline individuals in Flint who worked at the Flint water treatment plant. The head of the Public Works Department. We interviewed all four Emergency Managers, individuals in the state Department of Health and Human Services, the county Health Department, Treasury, the EPA -- I actually flew to Chicago and interviewed the EPA employees to be someone in the room with them as my other colleagues were on the phone. And for those of you who know the situation, I actually interviewed Susan Headman who was the regional head administrator of region five on her last day in her physical office, which was a pretty surreal moment to see them boxing -- you know, taking boxes out and her answering our questions. And we also interviewed the Governor himself. Prior to our refined report we issued three letters to the Governor. We made all of our findings public. The first one in early December called "Improving Coordination on the Ground in Flint." We had been up in Flint. We saw lots of things happening, but we weren't sure that they were happening in the right order and the right things were being done -- the highest priority were being done first. The second letter was the one that I think gave our taskforce some real credibility, and that was done at the end of the year. And in that letter we placed the primary accountability and responsibility with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and we criticized them also for the tone of their communications. They would over and over deny and try to discredit anyone who challenged their assertion that the water was safe to drink. And in January of 2016 we did our third letter, and that basically said that the government was going to have to have engagement and bring in trusted experts who were outside of state and local government if they ever were going to get the public to, you know, accept what they were saying. So our final report came out late March. It had 36 findings, 44 recommendations. It also was a consensus document, meaning that all five of us had to agree with what was in it. We definitely did not want to have a minority report. We didn't want to have some recommendations with, you know, four-to-one, three-to-two. We wanted to be -- all five of us be able to stand behind this report. And I can proudly say that, that we did it, and it was really pretty easy. The final report served three purposes. One, we wanted to clarify the roles of the parties involved and to assign accountability for what had happened. Second, we wanted to highlight the causes of the government failures that led to this crisis, and to make sure that such a failure never happened again. And then we also wanted to provide recommendations for the ongoing recovery for the Flint community and to use lessons of Flint to better safeguard all Michigan residents. So you heard Dr. Vereen talk about our statement where we opened up a report and said that the Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransience, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, environmental injustice. It occurred when state-appointed emergency managers had replaced local representative decision making. Dr. Vereen also talked about what did work. And even though it took time and they were ignored, it was the citizens of Flint who demonstrated, raised the voices, and made eventually the system respond. It was outside experts who were willing to stand up to government, who took the arrows and slings of outrageous fortune, and stood up and took it, and didn't go away. And it was a free press who used its investigative reporting skills to really shed a light on this. So what were our findings? As I said, we had, you know, 36 findings. The number one finding was that the DEQ beared [sic] primary responsibility for the water contamination in Flint, that the Department of Health and Human Services' lack of timely analysis and understanding of its own data prolonged the water crisis. It was the emergency managers, not locally-elected officials, who made the decision to switch to the Flint River as Flint's primary water source. And ultimate responsibility for Michigan Executive Branch decisions rests with the Governor, and the Governor relied too much on wrong information from too few people. The Flint water treatment plant was ill-prepared to assume responsibility for full-time operation of the drinking water process, and that the plant, the treatment technologies, the personnel were not ready to go live when they did. And they never should have been given the green light by the state. Communication, coordination, and cooperation between the Genesee County Health Department, the City of Flint, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was inadequate to protect Flint residents from public health threats resulting from inadequately-treated Flint River water. The -- a Department of Health and Human Services lacked understanding and analysis of the data that it had. It had all the data it needed, but they did not analyze the data that they had. And EPA failed to properly exercise its authority prior to January of 2016. The EPA's conduct casts doubt on its willingness to aggressively pursue enforcement in the absence of widespread public outrage. EPA surely should have acted sooner. The Flint water crisis is a clear case of environmental injustice. So our recommendations -- I'll just hit some of the high -- the top-line ones. For the Michigan Environmental Quality, they need to implement a proactive, comprehensive, culture change within their department. They need to focus back on their primary mission of protecting human health and the environment. Department of Health and Human Services must provide for more proactive, transparent analysis and respond to critical public health data. The Governor needs to improve reporting and decision making to ensure that critical information is verified. And the Governor must provide leadership that's necessary for the long-term implementation of the recommendations in our report. Under the Emergency Manager Law, we believe and made a recommendation that the state must review the statute and to provide at the very least expertise for effective local government. We also said that they have to involve or should involve local elected officials in key decision making, and/or appoint an ombudsman who could handle all sorts of disputes so there would be some way to have input, or three, have an appeal process for decisions that are made by emergency managers. In our state right now those emergency managers are the only ones who have power to make local decisions. The only check on them is that any contract over $50,000 has to be approved by the state treasurer. All other decisions are theirs to make and theirs alone. Those checks and balances in a democracy which make it messy at times are necessary and needed to make sure that decisions are made in the best interest of the citizenry. For the Flint -- we said for the City of Flint that our recommendation was they needed to implement a programmatic approach to ensure that clean, safe drinking water for Flint could occur when the switch to getting raw water from the Karegnondi Water Authority. They need to make sure that when that -- they're ready to do that they have the right treatment, the right physical plant, and they have the personnel to do it right. EPA, they need to exercise more vigor and act more promptly in addressing compliance violations that endanger public health. For recovery of Flint, we need to fund and implement model education, public health, and infrastructure renewal programs on a state-wide basis. We need to fund and implement model programs for school and daycare lead testing in drinking waters. We need to have a lead service line replacement program in this state, and we need to evaluate on a statewide basis our state's drinking water infrastructure. In environmental justice, we need to highlight the issue of environment justice and make it a key consideration for the -- in critical decision making. We added a section in the report about issues that were presented by the Flint water crisis, and the first one was environmental justice. And we found that Flint was an example of environmental injustice. For environmental justice there's two planks. One, there is a fair and non-discriminatory treatment of all people and meaningful public involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, in government decision making regarding environmental laws, regulations, and policies. In Flint with the Flint water crisis there was a failure on both of those principles, and this was a clear example of environmental injustice. We asked the Governor to issue an executive order mandating guidance and training on environment justice across all state agencies, highlighting the Flint water crisis as an example of environmental injustice, and that they should implement the environmental justice plan that is already in place for Michigan. We also wanted to somehow capture the perspectives of the residents of Flint that we had met. And we looked at several of these communities. One was a health community. Here was a health community who is now faced with tens of thousands of citizens who have been exposed to lead. And how were they to deal with this with the resources they had, that this was a community-wide crisis, and they were going to have to deal with it. To parents who are feeling guilt because they, like many of us, said, "Water is good to drink." They were giving their children water to drink. Water that was poisoned with lead. Think about what that must feel like, to think you're doing something good when potentially you're harming your child. To the non-English-speaking residents of Flint who when they were going door to door -- we had National Guard, we had uniformed officers knocking on the door to distribute bottles of water and filters. They wouldn't open the door. Why would they? You know, if you're potentially undocumented you're not going to open the door. What were they feeling at that moment? To African American seniors who this reminded them of Tuskegee syphilis study and other, you know, past events. And to the Flint community leaders who have to deal with this on a long-term basis, deal with the consequences and a now lack of trust for all governmental units. This is what this community is dealing with. And it's not going to be, you know, solved in a year or two years. This is decades, you know, going forward. And so we knew that there were other investigations coming behind us. We wanted to make sure that we put forward a report that answered the what happened? Why? What can be done to prevent this happening again? And we wanted to make sure that we provided a straightforward report, one that didn't pile on, that didn't pull any punches. And you know, since that report has come out I think the findings and recommendations have really been verified by others including just recently the EPA Inspector General who verified that the EPA had the ability to act sooner and should have. So thank you.
>> Donald Vereen: Thanks, Chris. Right now we'll hear from Mrs. E. Hill De Loney who will provide a bit of a backdrop for us. There's an elephant in the room when discussing environmental injustice, and she will educate us about that, if we don't know about that already. And she'll touch on a couple of other topics, including the loss of trust by the community and its leaders. Mrs. De Loney.
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: Often when I speak people ask me about the race problem in America. My response is there's not a race problem in America. There is, however, a racism problem in America. And if it disappeared tomorrow it would still be here because racism is in the fabric of this country. And it's going to take people who really believe that we're all connected to work on that. Also I need to define for you, so that we will be on the same page, how I am -- my definition of racism. Racism is race prejudice plus power. That's why I cannot be a racist. And the majority of you who chose or will not choose to be racist can be one simply because of your birth. So that would be a conscious decision not to be a racist. When we talk about what has happened in Flint, racism as it relates to the water crisis in Flint is the elephant in the room. However, it also is the elephant in America. Did Flint receive an emergency manager because it is approximately 60% African American and a higher percentage of its people are below the poverty line? All of the cities that received an emergency manager was at least 50% African American, and there were other cities that were not that percentage who never received one whose -- everything was the same as Flint, Michigan, but they never received an emergency manager. And Flint made it known we didn't want one. And you'll hear that from another speaker, of what Flint did. Imagine getting a call to -- by a company that says they're a resiliency and recovery organization that you read and see on an email or hear someone talking about, and when you get to that meeting an organization has not only called the meeting in a month or two before, they have planned the recovery for the city of Flint without the residents. When we arrived at the meeting, first of all we didn't realize that Genesee Health Systems was the same as Community Health Systems. They had been there previously and changed their names. But when we got to the meeting they had this plan laid out for what we were supposed to do and what we're supposed to do. We don't have time to tell you now, but you can believe we really had a time to change that and flip the script to make sure that didn't happen to us. And one of the things they wanted to tell us then was how to put on filters, how to change the water. They wanted to give us a history on the water. People who did not even know the majority of the residents, had not included them in the planning, but expected us to follow their rule. Well, there's a long story behind that, but we basically decided we would let them know that that was not going to happen. We're talking about trust. It wasn't too much trusted in the first place, but when that happened, I cannot tell you how deeply mistrust almost became a cancer in our community. We don't trust anything they tell us, and it's going to be a long time because what you may not know, about a year and a half before the governor decided to believe us, the community had not only been protesting, we had taken a bus down to the Capital. We had signed petitions. We took 2600 signatures to the Mayor. We had done everything we could do. And the only way it got public attention is because one of our colleagues went to her European American friend, and she asked her would she talk about it? And she became the poster child for a city that the African American -- all people. But one person, and you don't think that's racism? Maybe there's a new word for it, but we don't think so. But we all were affected by the water. And that -- to get in national news we had to get someone who didn't look like 50% -- 60% of the -- to speak once. We need to understand that trust is very hard to get in the first place -- very, very hard -- but it can dissipate in a matter of seconds. And so what we believe and want to believe that when you tell us something, your word is your bond. As it relates to policies, if you review all the policies in your work in the United States, most policies either impede it or demean the African Americans. As it relates to research, research has gotten much better since the 1990s when Kellogg introduced a community-based public health initiative, which is a forerunner of our Prevention Research Center and Community-Based Public Health Research. Since that time you're going to work in our communities, it has to be community-based participatory research, because when the idea is presented, the community is there. And we talk through it, and we plan, and we make it so everybody can understand. So the researchers got a lot of -- but there are so many researchers who still to this day do not want to work with Community-Based Organization Partners. They want to do research on us. But we are saying to them, "No research on us without us."
>> Donald Vereen: Thank you, Mrs. De Loney. So we'll next hear from Nayyirah Shariff. Nayyirah is the Director of Flint Rising. She has also been very busy addressing groups across the country -- I think she's going to be at Yale in a couple of weeks -- to talk about a number of issues related to environmental justice or injustice, and a number of other policy issues. And so we'll hear from Nayyirah Shariff right now.
>> Nayyirah Shariff: Thank you. So how I even got into responding to the Flint water crisis, number one it was an action of the emergency manager, and I was one of the co-founders of what eventually became the Flint Democracy Defense League, which is a grassroots group that formed to oppose Flint's Emergency Manager when Flint went to receivership officially in December of 2011. We were kind of a loose network of folks who were collecting signatures for the referendum, and on our election day when we were electing a mayor, the Governor made an announcement that we were going to receivership. And we decide that we needed to have kind of a response on the ground to what we felt was an example of fascism. So the Emergency Manager Law is a law that was adopted originally in March of 2011, and it posits that if you are a poor community you can lose your democracy. Not because of a war, like there's been wars like won and lost over a democracy, but with the stroke of a pen. And we lost it here in Michigan. And in Michigan an emergency manager can come into a school district or a municipality and replace two branches of your local government. So for a municipality that's your mayor and city council or county executive and county commissioners. Or for a school district, your elected school board and the superintendent. And once the emergency manager comes into that community, their powers -- they zero out the salaries of those people. And it really shifts the power and control from an elected body that is autonomous and is accountable to the residents who elect them to being employees of the emergency manager for the most part, because the emergency manager creates through executive orders the responsibilities of those formerly-elected bodies, and they become accountable to the emergency manager. So the Emergency Manager has the power to hire and fire employees. They also have the power to sell off public assets without a vote of the people. To -- they have the power to renegotiate union contracts or vendor contracts without consent of the union or the vendor. They also have the power to dissolve a municipality and -- without a vote of the people. So once the emergency manager made the decision to move over to the Flint River, the people in Flint, like we were not really cool with the Flint River in the first place because of the longstanding contamination by General Motors. So people were not really happy with that. And once -- immediately after the switch people knew that there was a change. And they went down to their city council. They used the tools that they thought were available to them, and they weren't heard. And as we moved forward we also discovered that there were landowners who owned apartment buildings and trailer parks. They were not paying the water bills, and then -- and people who were living in those areas were paying rent and paying lot rent. And the City of Flint through the Emergency Manager -- crap, what is the word -- had a brain fart -- condemned the property, so those people had to leave, had to vacate the property like within 24 hours. And about six months after the switch General Motors sent a letter to the Emergency Manager and said, "Hey, this Flint water is rusting our parts." And so the Emergency Manager was like, "Hey, we're going to give you a clean source of water, and don't worry about that $400,000 a year that you currently pay. You -- we're going to hook you up with clean water." And the residents was like, "Well, hey, why can't we get clean water?" And the Emergency Manager said, "That clean water is not for you." Like and that's exactly what -- how that happened. But after -- the reason why the world knows about the Flint water crisis is not only did we -- the grassroots resistance like really push the narratives and got Dr. Marc Edwards and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to validate our own narratives. And also we had an election, and we elected a Mayor who ran on a platform that the first thing that she was going to do if she was elected to office is she was going to declare a state of emergency based on the lead contamination. And she won. And she did it within 30 days. And that really like blew the media blackout, because even though we were out there protesting, we were out there marching, we were doing kind of like the community organizing 101, like it was reported, but it was reported very -- like very much on the surface. It was very superficial. And we had the ACLU who wasn't an investigative journalist, but he was the one that was really kind of pushing the narrative. It wasn't mainstream media at all. And it was only until the emergency declaration -- the Mayor did an emergency declaration. She was on Rachel Maddow like that same evening. And that really kind of blew the lid off of that. But unfortunately, like once we got all of the emergency declarations from the county, and the federal level, and the state, we thought, "Finally, the state is going to do their job." They did not do their job, and we really -- and Flint Rising, which is the organization now I'm the Director of, it really started with a canvas, because the undocumented community did not know that there was a crisis until two weeks after the federal emergency declaration. And they discovered it when their families called from their countries of origin and told them to not drink the water. And when we went to the state's website, there -- all of the materials were only in English. So we have undocumented Spanish-speaking community that lives within the city limits. We also have many Assyrian refugees who live in Flint, in addition to international students who attend our colleges and universities. And we had a nonprofit group down in Detroit translate materials into Spanish. And we did a state-wide call asking people who spoke Spanish to come to Flint and go door to door to let people know to not drink the water and to not boil the water, because many people were boiling the water, and they thought that that made the water safer, and it really doesn't. Lead is -- like lead is a heavy metal, does not evaporate, actually concentrates if you are boiling the water. And then also with the total trihalomethanes with -- if you're -- or Legionnaires, you can breathe it in through the steam. So we had to really tell people to not boil the water. Then also with the National Guard distributing water, all -- people all across the country, including celebrities, were sending truckloads of water -- semi-truckloads full of water. And the state had mandated that the National Guard had -- residents who were going to get water had to show a photo ID or they would not get the water. So I went up there, recorded that, posted it on Twitter. Within eight hours it went viral, and they had to change that policy. But as we moved forward it was kind of like we saw a messed up policy, and then we had to respond. And so it was kind of like this back-and-forth. And we felt like we really need to have a coordinated response, one, to build power on the ground because we had a lot of people who were enraged, which they are rightfully so, because their government poisoned them. We did not get a disaster declaration because under the federal policy the Stafford Act, we were ineligible for that because this was caused by man. And if those of you who are -- understand intimate partner violence, this really feels like a violent relationship, because the state is responsible for poisoning us, and now the state is in charge of our recovery. So we felt that that was highly problematic, and then also as Mrs. De Loney kind of mentioned, we had paternalistic decision making still ongoing with many of these agencies, one, who already had a fractured relationship with the community, and some of those agencies were responsible and collaborators in a cover-up in suppressing the knowledge that our water was not safe to drink. So we eventually created Flint Rising, which is a coalition of grassroots individuals and community organizations that formed to respond to the water crisis, and we also have kind of a broader coordinated table made up of labor and progressive allies. And we really like elevated some demands that were already like in -- embedded in the community. And those three things are, one, we don't pay for poison. We're still paying the water bill for this toxic water, and we've been paying for this water since April of 2014. And we pay one of the highest bills in the country. And we have 42% of our population that lives below the poverty line. So that's unjust right there. And then, two, our families deserve to be healthy. We need like long-term medical care. Right now even with this Medicaid expansion, the undocumented community is ineligible because they are undocumented. And you -- even if you are documented you have to be in the country at least five years to be eligible for Medicaid under the current statute. And then three, they need to fix what they broke, because even though like a lot of these numbers are talking about public infrastructure, there -- the private infrastructure has also messed up people's homes with their own internal plumbing, the small appliances that use water, those are corroding, and this is an undue burden on residents. And Flint people need to be -- should be at the frontline for those jobs when those come down. Then finally, the people who are directly impacted should be driving the work, and should be at the center and crafting the tools for our own liberation because this paternalistic decision making is really within the -- embedded in the Emergency Manager Law, which in itself that idea is embedded in racist tropes of our history. And you know, this election like -- is kind of like who are we as a country? Well, what's happening in Flint, Michigan right now is who we are as a country, so they need to -- America needs to embrace that as well, because we've been living on bottled water for over 2 1/2 years, and there hasn't been anything to change that. So we still have people who are using bottled water to shower, to bathe. And if we say that we're the greatest country on Earth, and that's what people believe, then who the hell are we that we have this within our own borders and nobody's doing anything about it. And there is really -- like really when you follow some of the federal policy and the lack of urgency when it comes to responding to that, that in itself is like just embedded in racism and in -- you know, the EPA and some of the information that was made public, it said, "Do we want to go out on a limb for Flint?" And it feels like with the lack of urgency to getting resources into Flint and into -- and stuff -- a lot of stuff that doesn't even cost any money, like creating a registry for everyone who's been impacted by the water crisis. Like why do we have to fight for that? You'd think that that should be something that's like rooted in humanity, and we have let like a federal Congress and a Michigan legislature that's not in touch with their humanity at all. But we have people who elected them are, and they've been sending resources, and prayers, and everything else to the city of Flint. And unfortunately, that hasn't been trickled up to the people who they elected.
>> Donald Vereen: Thank you, Nayyirah. Like Mrs. De Loney and Ms. Shariff, Kent Key is a resident of Flint. Dr. Key has been involved in a number of research projects and academic exercises when he was employed by the University of Michigan at the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research. He is now at the Michigan State University School of Human Medicine. He will present some points about a couple of policy topics and also include a discussion of creation of some new community-based processes that have come about or were formed as a result of this crisis. Dr. Key, take it away.
>> Kent Key: Good evening, or good afternoon. I'm not sure which one it is anymore. But it's a pleasure to be here and to really talk to you about what's happening in Flint, and you're really hearing from actual people who live in Flint. In the previous years, the Community-Based Organization Partners have had many discussions regarding how to vet researchers that are coming into Flint. And you all probably an imagine that Flint is like the smorgasbord for research now, because everybody from public health, to medical research, to policy, everyone wants to get a piece of Flint, because people are on tenure tracks, people need publications, people need to really make the accomplishments that they need in order to obtain the goal that they have. So in previous years Community-Based Organization Partners, we have been a part of research, specifically community-based participatory research, for many years. And we had -- I'm thinking probably as early as 2010 we started having conversations about what does the community need in order to ensure that whatever research that is happening in it is actually equitable and looks at mutual benefit for the community? When we think of traditional IRBs, which we have to go through in institutions, you know, it's really looking at do no harm, make sure that there is no harm to the community. But the Community-Based Organization Partners, we created what is called a community ethics review board, a CERB. And what this CERB does, it goes beyond what the IRB does. It does not so much look at the research design and those things that the IRB looks at, but it looks at what is the mutual benefit that will happen to the community that is being engaged in research? Traditional research is more like that helicopter commando style where the researcher comes in, swoops in, gets the information, and is off back to the ivory towers. And what is left for the community? Does the community get to co-own the data? Does the community get to understand how to use the data in order to write the grants to do -- provide the programs that the data suggests that they need? What is the mutual benefit? So since that time in 2011, I actually went to our Executive Director at CBOP, Mrs. De Loney, and I asked her about putting a community ethics review board in place for CBOP. We were at a Community Campus Partnerships for Health meeting, CCPH, and I saw that there was a group in Bronx, New York that had one, and Galveston, Texas that had one. And they were colleagues of ours. And so from that time, the Community-Based Organization Partners has this CERB is what we call it that is in place now that actually vets the research that is happening in the community, looking at it from an equity perspective, making sure and ensuring that it will be mutually beneficial not just for the researcher or that institution, but also for the residents and the community in Flint. That's one of the newer pieces that we put in place. And actually we were working on that prior to the Flint water crisis -- or we really like to call it the Flint water crime -- happening. Since that time also in January 2016, community residents, we have been really mobilizing in various town-hall meetings and dialogues around two major concerns. Now don't get me wrong. There are a lot of concerns, because there are a lot of -- there is a lot of mistrust in the community. But two of the greater concerns that really struck with me was the need to coordinate the monies that were coming to the city as a result of the Flint water crisis. You had celebrities, you had people from all across the world that were donating monies to come in to help the city to cope with this. And what we did not want to happen is what happened in New Orleans with Katrina. I don't know how many of you -- how many of you have ever been to New Orleans in the last couple of years? And when you go to those same neighborhoods that were most devastated, they still lay in devastation. And we wanted to ensure that that was not going to happen in Flint and that the people who were really doing the work and the communities that really needed the assistance would get the resources. And so that was one of the concerns the community had. And one of the second concern was the need to coordinate the research, because as I just mentioned, there was going to be an onset, just a flood of researchers contacting people in -- and it has happened. We've had pastors that have come to us because some researcher in Utah, or Wyoming, somewhere that has never been in Flint wants to do a study and will offer an incentive if they can recoup from their congregation. Now these pastors, many of them have no understanding of human subjects' protections, have never engaged in research as far as the ethical responsibilities around it. They don't understand those concepts and those dynamics. And so with that understanding, I had several conversations as a resident -- at that time I was here at the Michigan Institute for Clinical Health and Research, and I had many conversations with colleagues from U of M-Flint, Dr. Selig [inaudible], she's the Director of their Public Health Department there. I had conversations with our Health Officer at the Genesee County Health Department. Had conversations -- and I was representing CBOP in many of these conversations. And we talked to some colleagues at MSU, and we got the idea together to form what is called the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center. And what this center does specifically is it looks at creating an -- a coordination or a mechanism by which researchers who want to come into Flint post the Flint water crisis, would have to go through this center -- or we strongly suggest, because you can't make researchers do that. But we strongly suggest that they would go through this center. And this center was funded by the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Flint, and Michigan State University. The Presidents put money up to actually fund this center. And so what we were looking at here was to create a synergy around the research and to foster ethical and respectable community academic partnerships. And this was novel in the sense that we had two rival schools coming together to do something that was led by the community. And what we did -- I think that's one of the more ingenious things we did was we inserted the CERB as the vetting mechanism so that when researchers came through, the CERB had to review the research proposals, have those conversations with the researchers, and then they would either provide a letter of support, or they would deny a letter of support for that project to go through. And this is a national model, really, of looking at a cross-university, cross-campus research model to really create a mechanism to ensure that there is equity, that there is safety, and that no harm is done to community with mutual benefit. Also during that same span of time -- because remember, all of this kind of happened real quick at the end of January 2016 -- Dr. Selig [inaudible] is here as well. She had an idea from the University of Michigan-Flint campus of putting together a water course. And what was needed was a platform to really engage communities so that they can really talk about what's happening, but also hear from partners, hear from experts, hear from other residents. And so with that we created -- in 2016 that was the winter semester, and we created what we called a platform for bidirectional learning so that not only were the experts in engineering, and the experts from the medical community, and the experts from public health able to share with the community, but the experts from the north side, and the experts from the south side and the east side of Flint were able to give their expertise to those other experts. So this class is continuing even now. We are currently in the fall course section, and if you have -- if you want to see anything regarding the class, if you just go to U of M-Flint's website, you can go to the website, and you can put in search there at the Flint water course. And it's also all the videos, all the sessions have been archived there as well as on YouTube. So I just wanted to share that with you. That's another mechanism that we're getting a lot of the things and are hearing really what the community is saying as it relates to that. Then the following piece is the health equity in all policies. A lot of people have heard of health in all policies. Since this time, Kay Doerr, who is the Chair of our Board of Health in Genesee County, myself, Marc Valacak, Dr. Selig, CBOP, and others have been having discussions about really creating an opportunity so that Flint could adopt health in all policies. And the health in all policies is a policy that states that any law, any ordinance that is passed in a community has to be looked at from the perspective of how will it impact health? And so we're looking at if we have things like this in place not only on the local level but on the state level, then how would that have changed and altered the power that the Emergency Manager would have had? So since that time we have actually in Flint got our health equity in all policies passed at our Board of Health level, and just recently it was passed -- we're the first in the state to have it passed at the County Commissioner's level. So with that, those are some of the policy pieces of some of the new initiatives that are happening in Flint since the water crisis.
>> Donald Vereen: Thank you, Dr. Key. We're going to go right to questions at this point. And we have a number of questions and/or comments. And --
>> Imad Mourad: Imad Mourad.
>> Donald Vereen: Go right ahead.
>> Imad Mourad: My name is Imad Mourad. I'm a first year B.A. student here at the Ford School. My connection with the Flint water crisis is that I worked -- I assisted -- I interned for the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee on behalf of the Governor's Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives. And the first question from the audience is -- this is to any member of the panel -- is in your opinion, holding all else equal, could the poisoning of Flint have been reduced and/or prevented if there was no Emergency Manager and local government instead was in power?
>> Nayyirah Shariff: Well, in March of 2015 our Flint City Council passed a resolution to move back to Detroit, and the Emergency Manager -- at that point in time it was Gerry -- Gerald Ambrose. He sent a letter to the Deputy Treasurer and said that like we -- "You don't have the money." So money was the sole motivator, and people's health was not used in how they made decisions.
>> Kent Key: And just to add on to that, absolutely. As a resident and a young boy growing up in Flint, my uncles and grandfathers, they took us to the Flint River to practice fishing. We knew that we could not eat anything that came out of the Flint River. But we'd practice here, and then we went up north to do -- to fish for real. But even so, I say that to say this, as a child you knew that that water was not right. So absolutely, the residents would not have supported that.
>> Chris Kolb: I mean, I think -- we talked about this a little bit that without that public discussion within local decision making, maybe someone would have come up and said -- brought up the condition of the river -- the perceived condition of the river. Or someone would have asked, "Well, you know, that river, you know, has this reputation. What is the treatment process you're going through?" And they might have laid it out, and then someone listening might have said, "Well, what are you going to do about corrosion control?" I mean, we don't know because there was no opportunity for any public input either by the Mayor, or the City Council, or by the general public in this decision making. The Emergency Manager is in absolute control of all decision making, all information, and there's no ability to challenge it unless you are probably in the Treasurer's Office or the Governor's Office. There's really no way. So without that discussion, any of these questions could have come up. And it could have been just, you know, having been on local government, a constituent emailing you, calling you, stopping you on the street and say, "Hey, this decision is coming up. Have you thought of X, Y, and Z? And then you get to go ask, and maybe we would have prevented it.
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: In 1970 the government, and especially Flint, had PP -- DDT in the water, and they told us, "Do not drink that water." At the same time they were talking about the dumping of General Motors in there. And that's -- they've been doing the water from Detroit for 50 years. So they knew how bad that the water was. And then they come back, because they had no affinity with the City of Flint. And that's why it's absolutely -- like he said, it would not have happened, because we all knew not to use that water.
>> Ivy Tran: Hello, my name is Ivy Tran. I'm a second-year Master's student in Public Policy and Applied Economics. I'm also part of the charity auction, and it's my pleasure to announce that this year the Ford School nominated the Community Foundation of Greater Flint as the recipient of the charity auction. And I'd like to thank our panelists and moderator for being here today to discuss this topic. The next question to all the panel members is because this crisis is rooted in racism, where can students of policy begin to help address the situation?
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: What was the last part of the question?
>> Kent Key: Can you say that one more time?
>> Ivy Tran: Yeah, because this crisis is rooted in racism, where can students of policy begin to help address the situation in Flint?
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: Well, one of the things we have been looking at is dealing with the internalized effects of racism, because we can teach people behavior, but we need to teach them to think and to feel connected. All our education in the American schools as it relates to African Americans would put us down, make us think we're less than because of our Constitution. So we created what we call the Freedom School. And we try to get the youngest kids we can, because their parents have to bring them. And we talk about this. And we talk about the bidirection of racism. For example, European Americans it's internalized superiority and white privilege. For African Americans it's internalized inferiority and self-hatred. So we talk about that. We give them affirmation. We teach them meditation and [inaudible]. But you have to do it in small groups, like masses you're not going to change much. So we say groups of 13. And we try to lead with them. We have affirmations, and the main one is, "I know me." So they learn their oral history, because most people think that African American history began in America. We're descendants of the Africans that you brought here. We teach them to accept themselves. Like because of the pain we've experienced from racism, 2/3 of African Americans want to be accepted by European Americans. We want to say, "No, you've got to accept yourself first." We talk about loving yourself. And we make mistakes, forgiving yourself. And that a higher power is -- and we practice it. Little kids can say it. They can rote it out, two years old. Then we start teaching them what to go with it. But you have to make a commitment to want to change. For example, when we started working on racial disparities, and they asked me to join the committee, I refused. I mean, they kept at me, so I did join. And the person helped the most was me. But a lot of European Americans -- I mean, we are friends today, and I would never have thought that. So we gathered -- taken on dealing with ourselves first. Each one of you need to make a commitment, and then you can spread out to other people.
>> Kent Key: And I would also say -- because you asked also as it relates from a perspective the student body in this school. One thing is to really start some dialogue, start some conversations, because the racial climate in this country is something I have never seen in my lifetime before. And when you look at the brutality with the police and so many other things that are happening, I thought I never would ever think this, and when I thought it the first time I thought I was crazy. But I was like the only benefit for me -- and I'm not trying to offend anyone from the Trump campaign -- is that it really showed where people really stand and where -- what people really feel. And I think that since everything is out on the open and on the table, let's have a dialogue about it. Let's talk about it. Let's have -- let's listen to various perspectives, and then let's go back to history and look at the facts, because I'm not necessarily be trying to move you, and you're not necessarily going to move me, but we can agree to disagree, and we can also have a healthy dialogue and a discourse of understanding how one event may affect me differently than it may affect you. And so I think starting conversations, really being able to be comfortable talking about race. I think younger -- the younger generations that are here now and that will come behind us may be a little bit more comfortable talking about race, as long as they have the parents that are teaching them to be comfortable. But it's really hard for a lot of citizens of this country to really talk about it, because to do that you have to look at a history that many people are not proud of.
>> Nayyirah Shariff: And I think also, not so I'm retreading what the other panelists have said, you know, be proud of your own experience. One of the things that happened in the context of the water crisis is people were sharing their own experience, and they were being dismissed. Like one of the experiences was people showing like their discolored water in public settings. And the response was, "You've died that water." Or when it was tested and it came up with lead, the response was, "Well, you must have put some pencils in that water." And I'm like, "Well, there hasn't been like lead pencils like my whole life, so I don't know what that is." But really, you know, honoring -- and I've done like facilitation. Like one, just don't be racist. But then two, like when you mess up, like be ready to receive that critique and criticism, because this is a teachable moment. And then also, respecting other people's experience, because when you're having these conversations, you're going to be vulnerable because, I mean, like I've shared experiences and knew that that mess was racist, and when you have people like criticizing like your own experience, like you don't know your own experience, one, that's like [inaudible] white supremacy that you can -- that you know my experience better than I know my experience, and I lived it. So that's like all messed up in and of itself. But being able and respecting each other equally so you can share each other's experience and it's received as that's your experience and not as a critique, or you want to fix it, or do other mess with it.
>> Imad Mourad: Thank you for that. Our next question from the audience is -- says -- it seems like the Flint residents needed recognized experts, namely Dr. Marc Edwards, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to bring what the citizens already knew to public attention. How can policymakers and researchers do a better job of recognizing and validating citizen knowledge and expertise?
>> Kent Key: That's a good question, and that's one that we struggle with in Flint right now on how to provide that. And I say that because so often -- and again, I don't want to go back to -- specifically to the race issue, but oftentimes when groups that are minority are really raising their voice around something, it normally takes someone that's from the majority race to say it before it's heard or validated. And we see that quite often. What happened in Flint was a systemic disregard for community voices. And when I'm talking about community I'm not talking about the more broadly-defined community definition that most of the government is using now. I'm talking about the underprivileged, the under-resourced, the under -- well, so many of the unders -- marginalized communities. And Flint by the book did everything right as far as mobilizing, lifting voice, doing protests, trying to have media coverage. Of course, the media at the time had even apologized at one of the water courses that it just wasn't the hot topic of the day. So there are some policies we need to even address as it relates to media, because a lot of times they are the voice of what's happening in a community when you don't necessarily live in that community. And sometimes even when you live in that community. And so how -- and how do we do that? That's something -- that's another conversation we need to have. But it is something that is systemic in this country when we have these communities that are poor, or marginalized, or of color that are raising their voices around something, then it takes someone who's not necessarily from that community. I'll never forget I was on a conference call -- I'm going to just use this example, then I'm done. I was on a conference call, and I was the only minority PhD on this conference call. And everyone just about was European American. I think there was one that was from the Middle East. And they asked a question, a suggestion, and I gave my suggestion. And the person that was moderating it was like, "Okay, that's thoughtful. We'll consider that." Then about four minutes later a European American colleague said the exact same thing I said, but then it was ingenious when she said it. And so my response was, "Well, was it not ingenious five minutes ago when I said it?" And the moderator said, "I didn't realize that's what you said." And everybody else on the call said, "Yeah, he did." That happens to me all the time, quite often. And so if we're going to do what he just asked, then we need to really have some in-depth conversations about the types of things that happen in this country that really marginalizes the voices of others, but then give platform to those who may look totally different from them.
>> Nayyirah Shariff: Well, I'll say that is still ongoing, because last week the Joint Select Committee on the Flint Water Public Health Emergency, which was released by the bicameral, bipartisan legislature, their key response events timeline began on September 2nd, 2015 with Marc Edwards, so it really erased everything that the grassroots has done like up to that point. So it just brings to mind -- I really love the "Hamilton," the play. And the last song of the soundtrack is "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?" And as you have even this narrative, and it's still ongoing, it's extremely dynamic. It's being reframed, and the grassroots and that stuff is being erased from the public narrative, and it's just being like -- just like LeeAnne Walters, even though she was part of a whole group. And like Dr. Marc Edwards and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, sometimes Miguel Del Toral, but most of the time not. But when you think of like what's happening right now at Standing Rock, like they've been occupying space since April, and it's just now like this month starting to get some mainstream attention, mostly not. But I mean, there is a -- I would say this is a systemic thing of really like trying to reframe narratives to eliminate like the resistance and the people in those narratives. And that could be because they don't really want widespread revolution. I don't know. But when you -- when you're able to just like pluck like a token, like it's just like one person, when people are facing the similar issues as you, like if they don't believe that it's a group of people, and yes, you do have the power to like shift narratives and reframe policy, if it's just like one person, you can really individualize that and really take the collective out of organizing. And that's something that we have to really stop right now, because it's happening right now.
>> Ivy Tran: This will be the last question that we have time for. The question is it would take the government billions of dollars to fix or replace all plumbing in Flint. Unfortunately, this seems infeasible. What is the best thing the state and federal government can do to repair the crumbling infrastructure that is harming residents?
[ Inaudible Conversation ]
>> Nayyirah Shariff: Well, I think that also we need to talk about a lot of the federal policies, too, because we have. All of our policies at the federal level and the state level is in alignment with [inaudible] and consumption, and not necessarily in reinvestment. So even at the federal level we need to reframe that. But -- and I go back to what I earlier said, who are we as a country? Like government messed this up, so government should be responsible for fixing it. And unfortunately, the ideology of people in power right now is they're trying to shift responsibility from government to nonprofits, even residents, because right now we're responsible -- as residents we're responsible for getting our own bottled water. Like they do not deliver bottled water, and we have -- and we're responsible for processing our own water using water filters. And those are fraught with human error. So when you -- when you're shifting like responsibility to nonprofits, and clergy, and just all of that stuff, you're really like -- they're really trying to abscond themselves of responsibility to actually like dive in and replace the pipes.
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: And what they can do and could have done because the Mayor -- the Governor has a rainy day fund with enough money to replace all those pipes. The first thing they need to do is -- would be to replace those pipes and test the waters around -- the soil around and see what's still there that needs to be worked on, because they're still discovering new bacteria as early as -- as late as last week. And then the diseases coming out, so that's the first thing they should do. And if it was a sense of urgency, I believe if it was in Royal Oak, someplace like that, it would have been done. So they keep telling what they don't -- don't tell -- and the Governor knows how we feel, because we actually told him with shaking his hand, looking in his eye. I told him.
>> Nayyirah Shariff: And right now -- oh, I'm sorry. And right now we have the Army Corps of Engineers standing -- on standby at Standing Rock, waiting to build pipes through sacred land -- sacred indigenous land. And we don't have the Army Corps of Engineers in Flint digging up pipes when they know that -- and it's on record that a community has been poisoned.
>> Chris Kolb: The -- you know, Flint is a situation where I agree that it's the state's responsibility. The state caused this. It ruined not only the health impacts, but the infrastructure damage because of the corrosiveness -- the corrosivity of the water itself that they allowed to -- it's taken years off the life of the distribution system. They're having 10 to 12 -- they were having 10 to 12 water main breaks a day, 4- to 500 a year, totally abnormal. So Flint, we as a state own that. And we have to agree to pay for what's needed there. The statewide basis on drinking water, we're underfunding our investment in our drinking water structure somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 billion dollars a year in Michigan alone. This is a national -- the infrastructure question is a national question. And there are multiple ways of looking at it, but the cost of not doing something and putting it off is greater than doing it today. If we can put $80 to 90 billion into a war in Iraq, how can we not do that? And that's on a monthly basis. How can we not do that in our drinking water infrastructure? And we need to come up with a system that guarantees clean, safe, affordable drinking water. Who'd ever have thought that the water coming out of your tap wasn't safe to drink?
>> Mr. E. Hill De Loney: Kill you.
>> Chris Kolb: And that it would poison you, kill you? Twelve people have died from Legionnaire's disease. Whether or not it was related is unknown, but the human cost is much greater than if we just would address the situation to begin with. So it's a national question. This is stuff that the President's looking at. This is what the industry itself is looking at. But we have to start to demand that we provide the basic services that are there. And this industry deals in consent orders and judgments that are in the billions of dollars. We can deal with it. We just have to say, "Let's do it," and figure out the most equitable way of doing it. But the bottom line, is not clean, safe drinking water a human right? Access to that [applause] should be a human right.
>> Mrs. E. Hill De Loney: Should be.
>> Chris Kolb: So I mean, that is how you frame it for me is that if it is a human right then we need to as a society be able to provide that to everyone in this country.
>> Donald Vereen: With that I want to add one additional point to that, Dr. Suzanne Selig is here and has information about the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center, because some of the questions were bent toward what is it that students could do or get involved in? And so she is here with that information. So at this point I want to thank your -- thank you for your attention, your thoughtfulness your thoughtful questions. I want to thank the panel. Thank you for your forthrightness and for sharing your expertise with the Ford School Audience. So with that, there is a reception. The panel members will be available for additional questions. And with that, thank you and have a good evening.
[ Applause ]