It has been 5 years since the city of Flint switched their water sources in an effort to save money.
With high levels of lead and nearly no government help, citizens in Flint have been relying on water bottles provided by Michigan's free water bottle program.
Last April, Governor Rick Snyder declared Flint water "safe to drink," thus ending the free water bottle program. Unfortunately, this just isn't true. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed protesting the water crisis, but hardly anything has been done. Citizens still need clean water, and they're relying on other non-government funded means to get it. People like Mari Copeny have been working relentlessly to obtain and deliver free, clean water to their fellow Flint residents.
By raising money for this cause, we can help families in Flint get more of the clean water they need. All proceeds from the Run Fast For Flint 5k go directly to Mari Copeny's online GoFundMe, so she can deliver bottles to the people of Flint at her water drives.
11-year old Mari Copeny is doing more than any politicians have for her community. She and her family put together water drives for the Flint community from their ongoing fundraisers. Mari has raised over $350,000 from people all over the nation to buy clean water bottles for her fellow Flintians struggling for clean water.
When Mari wrote a letter to President Obama when she was 8, not only did she get to meet the sitting president, but she showed him what was going on in her community. She's also helped kids in the prominently-black community feel empowered, hosting screenings of encouraging cultural movies like Black Panther at local movie theaters.
This year, Mari won a Shorty Award for Best in Activism, a huge honor for someone at any age, let alone sixth grade! Our race sends funds directly to Mari's GoFundMe campaign, so we can make sure that our funds go directly to the people that are helping the Flint community.
I started this race during my junior year of high school at Greenwich High. After learning about the Flint water crisis, I was disturbed and worried. I remember donating $3 to Mari Copeny's GoFundMe (that's all I could really afford) and thinking that I just should be doing more. I wanted to do more. And I figured other people felt the same way - feeling like they should be doing more than they can. And so I decided the best way I could help the Flint community would be to bring together my own.
With the help of all my family, my friends, my family's friends, my friend's family...we put on the first Run Fast For Flint 5k. The gun going off on July 28th, 2018, the Greenwich fundraiser raised over $335 for Flint, and I couldn't have been more proud. That's my own community's direct contribution to another community in need.
I plan to continue organizing this race until Flint has clean water. That could mean the race ends as soon as next year, or ten years from now. But until then, Run Fast For Flint will come together once a year to raise awareness about Flint, environmental racism, America's infrastructure emergency, and raise money to buy clean water bottles for Flint families.