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"This is not a black or white thing ... this water is killing all of us"

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission takes testimony in Flint's water crisis

Michigan’s top civil rights officials held their first a public hearing on the Flint water crisis today.

Dozens of Flint residents told their stories to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

“This is not a black or white thing,” Flint resident Tony Palladino testified, “because this water is killing all of us.”

Other speakers complained about racism, water rates, real estate red-lining, and Gov. Rick Snyder.

The commissioners noted a task force set up by Gov. Snyder called Flint’s water crisis an example of “environmental injustice."

MCRC Executive Director Agustin Arbulu says the commission is especially concerned that Flint citizens have not had a “voice” in the water crisis.

“Because when you lose your voice, there’s a community that does not have a say in something that will affect them,” says Arbulu.

The commission plans to hold at least two additional public hearings. 

The commission’s final report is expected by the end of the year and it could address Michigan’s emergency manager law.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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