Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

A Flint Mom and a Journalist Describe How the Community Spoke Truth To Power

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Image credit: Jake Neher

A journalist and resident-turned-activist tells the real life stories of the Flint Water Crisis

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Melissa Mays is a Flint mother-turned-activist who says she and her children are suffering from illnesses caused by chemicals they ingested from drinking Flint water. Mays garnered national attention when the city threatened to foreclose her home because she refused to pay an outstanding water bill. Mays also coordinated a lawsuit against then Gov. Rick Snyder to force the State of Michigan to replace lead-infected water lines in the City of Flint.  She founded an advocacy group, “Water You Fighting For.”

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. Her 2015 documentary about the Flint water crisis, Not Safe to Drink, won the station a national Edward R. Murrow Award, an Alfred I. duPont - Columbia University Award and a Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Award. Smith spent a great deal of time with families in Flint, telling their stories and witnessing their struggle to get answers and tap water that’s safe to drink. 

The failure of the EPA and specifically of the DEQ — if they had done their job correctly, then the water crisis wouldn’t have happened,” says Smith. 


Click the player to hear Stephen Henderson’s full conversations with Lindsey Smith and Melissa Mays. 


WDET’s “Created Equal” Season 2 focuses on the Flint Water Crisis and the elected officials, health care and environmental experts, and citizens who were on the ground from the beginning. 

The podcast season is a companion to the book “What the Eyes Don’t See,” written by Flint pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, above, whose research showed Flint children had elevated lead levels in their blood after the switch.


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