Civil Rights, Faith, and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Address Flint Lead Crisis before Recess

For Immediate Release

Civil Rights, Faith, and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Address Flint Lead Crisis before Recess

WASHINGTON - 86 national civil and human rights, faith, and environmental groups are urging Congress to include immediate aid for Flint, Michigan, in the Continuing Resolution to fund the government before the congressional recess. The people of Flint, a low-income and majority-minority community, have been suffering from over-exposure to lead for more than a year without any emergency aid.

“Congress must act to address emergencies whenever and wherever they occur, and the need is most acute when our most vulnerable communities are struck by disaster. This is true regardless of whether a disaster strikes in a red state, a blue state, or a purple state,” the groups wrote to Congress in a letter sent earlier today. “We are deeply concerned that the people of Flint, Michigan have been waiting for more than a year for emergency assistance. They require immediate aid, and further delays are unacceptable as a matter of basic decency and fairness.”

“The Flint water crisis has impacted thousands of families and exposed more than 10,000 children to high concentrations of lead in their drinking and bathwater,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “There is no way to rectify this injustice, but the federal government can help clean up the mess caused by the state of Michigan by helping the families who are suffering the most.”

The full letter is below and linked here.

September 26, 2016

Support Funding for Flint in the Continuing Resolution

Dear Senator/Representative,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, and the undersigned organizations, we write to strongly support the passage of a clean, short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that includes relief for Flint, Michigan. If Congress chooses to provide disaster relief for elsewhere in our nation, it must also include disaster relief for our communities in Flint, who have suffered long enough and require immediate federal assistance.

Congress must act to address emergencies whenever and wherever they occur, and the need is most acute when our most vulnerable communities are struck by disaster. This is true regardless of whether a disaster strikes in a red state, a blue state, or a purple state. Republicans who demand federal aid for their home states should also ensure funding for Flint, a community overwhelmingly composed of people of color and with nearly 40 percent of its residents living below the poverty line.

We are deeply concerned that the people of Flint, Michigan have been waiting for more than a year for emergency assistance. They require immediate aid, and further delays are unacceptable as a matter of basic decency and fairness. Tens of thousands of people in Michigan have been harmed by this crisis, and they continue to struggle to provide clean drinking water for their families. So far, 10,000 children of Flint will suffer from lead poisoning because of this disaster. These children deserve environmental justice, and they deserve clean drinking water. It is absolutely astonishing that in the greatest nation in the world, one with so many resources, the people of Flint continue to lack the most essential of needs—clean drinking water. 

We were heartened to finally see some positive movement forward on relief for Flint in the Senate version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA), but this is not enough. There has been no guarantee from House Republicans that they will include adequate relief for Flint in the House version of WRDA, and we have no idea when a final bill would get to President Obama’s desk. The people of Flint deserved assistance more than a year ago, and they require assistance now, without further delay. Therefore, it is critical that aid comes now so that other children and families will not suffer.

Leader McConnell has proposed emergency funding to address the floods in Louisiana, but has rejected fully offset funding to address the crisis of lead-tainted water in Flint, Michigan. We believe that both the flood victims of Louisiana and residents of Flint, Michigan should be included in the Continuing Resolution, as vulnerable communities in both states require immediate assistance. It is inequitable to provide relief for Louisiana now, but to once again punt on assistance for Flint.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

9to5, National Association of Working Women

A. Philip Randolph Institute

ACCESS

ACLU

AFL-CIO

African American Health Alliance

African American Ministers in Action

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Family Voices

American Federation of Government Employees

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

American Federation of Teachers

American Islamic Congress

American Rivers

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)

Americans United for Change

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Campaign for America's Future

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Center for Community Change Action

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy

Children's Defense Fund

Children's Health Fund

Coalition on Human Needs

Common Cause

Daily Kos

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Environment America

Every Child Matters

First Focus Campaign for Children

Gamaliel

International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA)

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)

The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Jobs With Justice

League of Conservation Voters

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

MomsRising

NAACP

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

National Association of Human Rights Workers

National Association of Social Workers

National Black Justice Coalition

National CAPACD

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Black Women's Roundtable

National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)

National Council of Jewish Women

National Council of La Raza

National Disability Rights Network

National Education Association

National Employment Law Project

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Jobs for All Coalition

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Priorities Project

National Urban League

National WIC Association

National Women's Law Center

Native Organizers Alliance

Natural Resources Defense Council

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America

People Demanding Action

People for the American Way

People's Action

PICO National Network

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Progressive Congress Action Fund

Public Citizen

Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Service Employees International Union

Sierra Club

United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries

The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society

United Steelworkers (USW)

Voices for Progress

Young Progressives Demanding Action

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals.

The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy.  It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.

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