Head of Michigan ACLU Wishes Flint Would be Bigger Focus For Mackinac Conference

ACLU of Michigan wants business leaders and lawmakers to keep talking about future for Flint

The head of Michigan’s primary civil liberties advocacy group, ACLU of Michigan, says business leaders and lawmakers should be planning to spend a lot of time at a policy conference on Mackinac Island this week discussing the future for Flint. 

Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, says infrastructure should be a focal point of the Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The so-called “pillars” of the conference are “urban education,” “entrepreneurship,” and “investing in the future.”

“You want to make Michigan a place that will attract talent and modernize, and yet that question [of crumbling infrastructure] isn’t on the table? Seems kind of important,” says Moss.

Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose the lead crisis with Flint drinking water, is scheduled to appear briefly as a featured speaker at the conference. The chamber also added a last-minute panel discussion about the Flint crisis to the conference agenda. The Flint panel replaces a keynote address scheduled to be delivered by Sal Kahn, the founder of Khan Academy. Khan canceled his speech and appearance last week.  

A special investigative reporter employed by the ACLU of Michigan, Curt Guyette, played a key role in exposing the water crisis and the systemic dysfunction that underpinned the controversy. The reporter position with the ACLU is an unconventional one for an advocacy group such as ACLU, but Moss says the advocacy of the organization doesn’t change the facts surrounding the story.

“I think we should be held to the same standards [as traditional media],” says Moss. “Facts are facts and people shouldn’t make up facts.” 

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio link above.


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