Miss Michigan Speaks About Flint


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Emily Sioma speaks about Flint water crisis during the Miss America Pageant.

“From the state with 84 percent of the US fresh water but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma.”

At the beginning of the Miss America Pageant on Sept. 9, the 51 contestants got a couple seconds to introduce themselves. While most of the title winners, said things like their names, education, and from where they represent, Miss Michigan decided to take her time to highlight what has been happening in her state.

This statement comes after the infamous Flint, Michigan water crisis that began to be focused on in 2014. Residents of Flint had noticed the water had a funny metallic taste and a dark color with things floating in it. Residents had also been experiencing hair loss and rashes that they now believed was from the water they had been using to shower.

The people of Flint went to their city officials who told them everything was fine and that they should continue to drink the water. The city of Flint had been experiencing money shortages around 2011 so they decided to cut back on some things. The cutbacks happened to be on water. Flint stopped receiving water from Detroit and began taking water from the Flint River. This water would later be proved to have high levels of lead in it. This ultimately poisoned residents, many of them being children.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Sioma said, “I want people to keep talking about the water conditions in Michigan, and across the U.S. This is a conversation we need to be having. It’s a crisis going on all across the state of Michigan—chemicals known to cause cancer and now lead to developmental disorders [are being found in our water]. They’ve been found in Flint, in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Alpena… The Detroit public school system has had to turn off its drinking water. Kids are going back to school and they don’t have water to drink because the lead and copper levels are way too high to be safe.”

Imagine a life where the water around could kill you, where it’s not safe to shower, drink or even play with water to cool down. That is the reality of a Flint, Michigan resident.