Life in Black America (during the 21st century)
During the dawn of the 21st century in Black America, a new era existed. In times past, I wrote about information about black history from the past. Now, it is the time to show our history during the 21st century. It is vitally important to outline the facts of our current generation. There is a massive amount of black political leaders, celebrities, and other human beings. Yet, income inequality has increased and poverty plus educational neglect continue to be serious problems in our community in the year 2000. The Cold War is over. By the year 2000 the system of racism/white supremacy still oppressed black people globally. In the realm of the 2000 Presidential race, Al Gore faced off against George W. Bush. Al Gore tried to appeal to African Americans with his views of continuing Clinton’s legacy while Bush said that he wanted to promote a “compassionate conservativism.” We know about Clinton's legacy (which was not progressive, but centrist and reactionary in many cases) of increasing the prison industrial complex, the growth of low wage jobs, the bombing of Serbia including Iraq, NAFTA, and the promotion of the death penalty. Bill Clinton's policies from welfare reform to the Crime Bill have had harmed the lives of many black Americans. Most African Americans supported Al Gore while George W. Bush’s reactionary record was well known. Bush supports the death penalty, he refused to stand up against imperialism, and also Gore is tied to Clinton’s centrist agenda too. The election of 2000 was close and it was one of the closet elections in history. We know that thousands of black people were barred from voting in Florida and many of their voting records were declared void. Many Florida precincts, with mostly African American people, had ballots declared void by “technical reasons.” So, we had serious voting fraud done by the reactionary Republicans (as documented by journalist Greg Palast and other experts) in order to allow Bush to steal the selection of President. We know what the modern Republican Party is all about. They are a product of the 1964 Goldwater campaign, which opposed to civil rights being protected in the federal level. George H. W. Bush opposed the Civil Rights act when he unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in Texas back in 1964 (against the liberal person Ralph Yarborough. Yarborough supported Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Great Society). The GOP members are related to the Southern Strategy of Richard Nixon and Strom Thurmond (during the 1968 and 1972 elections). Many Democrats decades ago became Republicans to support right wing and racist causes.
There were disputes and lawsuits during the 2000 election. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (in December 12, 2000. This was when I was 17 years old) to allow Bush to “win” the election. This outraged many in the country, especially black Americans. Only 8 percent of black people voted for Bush in the 2000 election while 90 percent voted for Al Gore. Members of the Black Congressional Congress in January 6, 2001 protested the Supreme Court decision in Congress. Vice President Al Gore confirmed the 2000 election results without protest or criticism. 20 black Representatives walked in the Congressional session in protest. Maxine Waters rightfully exposed the evil fraud of the 2000 election too. It was not only a sad day for Black America, but a sad day of democracy in general. I was a senior in high school during that time. The inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001 was filled with protests and outrage. The new era of America (during the 21st century) began in the midst of controversy.
On January 20, 2001, Colin Powell was made the first African American to be the Secretary of State. Later, Condoleezza Rice would be the first African American Secretary of State in America. Like many people in the 21st century, both black people (who worked for the Bush administration) would exemplify great intelligence, huge accomplishments, mistakes, and profound controversies.
There can be no discussion about black people in the 21st century without a discussion about hip hop (whether people like it or not). Hip hop is a musical genre filled with many artists who express lyrics about consciousness and human growth while other artists have expressed anti-black lyrics, misogyny (especially misogynoir), materialism, a glamorization of violence, and other forms of bigotry. The June 2001 Hip Hop Summit was an event in NYC that was hosted by Russel Simmons (who had to apologize for his disgraceful action in mistreating Harriet Tubman) and other artists were the like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaata, Grandmaster Flash, etc. The Summit desired to use hip hop artists and others to form political power that can change communities in a positive direction. A wide spectrum of scholars and social activists were in the summit like Martin Luther King III, Cynthia McKinney, Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Tricia Rose, then NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Louis Farrakhan, Benjamin Chavis, etc. The attendees agreed to focus on fighting for social justice issues which includes criminal justice matters.
From August 31 to September 7, 2001, “the UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance” took place in Durban, South Africa. African Americans were supportive of the conference. The Conference condemned racism, discrimination, economic exploitation, and Zionism. There were debates about reparations for people of black African descent, the slave trade, and other important issues.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 changed the landscape of black people and he rest of the human race forever. I remember the attacks like they were yesterday. I think about 9/11 every single day of my life since that day. People of various races and creeds were brutally murdered by evil people during 9/11. Immediately, the age of the war on terror started. The African American community mourned the dead and continued to stand up for what is right (which is that no terrorist action will cause us to be Islamophobic or bigoted against people based on their ethnicity or religion). Immediately, George W. Bush used the attacks to promote in his own words a “crusade” against terrorism. While he has condemned Islamophobia in public, George W. Bush has used policies from the Patriot Act to random arrests of Muslims immediately after 9/11 which violated human civil liberties completely. In October 2001, the West attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In 2002, Cynthia McKinney introduced the Martin Luther King Jr. Records Collections Act to promote transparency. Cynthia McKinney’s consistent progressive politics from opposing the NATO attack in Libya to standing up for justice is inspiring. Cynthia McKinney has supported housing rights, international solidarity with oppressed people, and she wants an end to imperialism. The Iraq War started in March 2003. It was a war so unjust and based on fabrications that people from across the political spectrum now readily saw that war as an evil error. The war was advanced by the neo-cons, especially those who signed the Project for A New American Century document (which is a blueprint of militarism). The Iraq War destabilized the Middle East. Since the beginning, a very high percentage of African Americans justly opposed the Iraq War. In 2003, the debate of affirmative action continues to grow and heat up. Affirmative action policies existed since the 1960’s while reactionaries want it to be gone, because they believe in a distorted view of individualism and ignore how racial structural discrimination still exists in our time. American society is not a total meritocracy. The Supreme Court case of Grutter v. Bollinger, he court maintained the race sensitive policy of University of Michigan (or using race as one factor in determining college admissions as promoting diversity). Also, the case of Gratz v. Bollinger decision, the Supreme Court overturned one affirmative action program at Columbia University. The mixed result of the cases hasn’t ended the cause of ending affirmative actions by conservatives. The fight for affirmative action continues. 2004 represented the 50th year Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision which banned declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to public education. By 2004, there are still massive segregated schools in America in a de facto fashion. This has been talked about by Rodney Paige or the then Secretary of Education during the Bush administration.
Katrina, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King
2005 was a year of sorrow and pain for Black America. The Hurricane Katrina disaster happened in late August 2005. Katrina caused tons of human being to die. Tons of homes were destroyed and the Bush administration including other entities did a horrible job in helping the victims of the natural disaster. Thousands of African Americans left in an exodus from Louisiana (and the Gulf Coast region) to Houston, Atlanta, and throughout America. FEMA did a terrible job in helping people. Lax infrastructure and bad policies from every level of government exacerbated the problems. Black people were slandered as “refugees” by many in the press. Corporate interests took public lands via privatization and gentrification. White racist gangs assaulted black people. Militarized police governed the streets and confiscated guns from even law abiding citizens in New Orleans. It was a disaster. On October 15, the Millions More Movement held its March in Washington, D.C. Also, Rosa Parks passed away in October 25, 2005. She passed away at the age of 92. She was greatly involved in Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Rosa Parks contributed a lot to the end of overt, legalized segregation in the USA. Rosa Parks was a courageous woman. She worked in the progressive Highlander School. Parks participated in activism nationally during the mid-1960s, traveling to support the Selma-to-Montgomery Marches, the Freedom Now Party, and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. She also befriended Malcolm X, who she regarded as a personal hero. Parks took part in the Black Power movement, attending the Philadelphia Black Power conference, and the Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana. She also supported and visited the Black Panther school in Oakland. Since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we have progressive black people fighting for justice. Also, we have various black people who are in a privileged upper middle class layer who promote the status quo (involving black “capitalism” not black liberation), blame the poor, and support the status quo. So, you have the working class and poor majority of black people while there is a minority of the wealthy plus upper class part of the black community. We are defenders of justice not defenders of corporate privilege. Rosa Parks’ legacy is about promoting freedom and stand up against injustice. Her body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. before interment.
In 2006, the Jena Six incident came about. This situation involved racial tensions in Jena, Louisiana. Nooses we hanged in the school area. The attacks in Jena, La., began after a Black student at the high school asked the principal at a school assembly if he could sit under the “white tree”—a tree in the front yard of the school where white students sit during breaks. The next day, three nooses in the school colors were found hanging from the tree. The students who hung them were initially to be expelled, but the superintendent of schools intervened and gave them a three-day suspension instead. Black students gathered under the tree to protest the decision. On November 30, 2006, the main building of the high school was destroyed by arson. On December 1, 2006, a private party was held at the Jena Fair Barn. Fights happened between white and black people. Later, Baker was attacked. The people accused of the assault are called Jean Six. They we in risk of receiving outrageously high sentences and that is why people came into Louisiana to protest this situation. Wallace and Bailey were the backbone of the drop-the-charges campaign that culminated in tens of thousands of people marching in Jena in September 2007. It is important to mention that black women stood in great numbers to defend the Jena Six. We owe black women our lives as all of human life comes from a black woman literally. Therefore, we always appreciate the wisdom and power of black women forever. Catrina Wallace passed away by murder. Yet, Catrina Wallace was one of the greatest activists in the Jena Six movement. She worked in community grassroots organizing and she was a strong Sister. RIP Sister Catrina Wallace.
The Great Recession
2007 was the start of the Great Recession in America. Corrupt policies from many Wall Street banks including other things (from predatory lending to costly unjust wars overseas) contributed to the recession. During the beginning of the recession, black Americans’ homes were foreclosured, wealth decreased, and black poverty grew. Unemployment in the black community would grow too during the early stages of the Great Recession. The myth promoted by some years ago is that the Presidency of Barack Obama eliminated racism and caused a post racial society. We don’t see that at all. There has been huge historic record support for Obama in 2008 and 2012. Yet, in some instances, African Americans have suffered worse now than before the Great Recession. Black unemployment has been in double digits through most of the Obama Presidency. Black college graduates are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white college graduates. Census data show that the percentage of African American children under 6 growing up in poverty is at 38%. In the Midwest, black poverty is very intense in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and in Michigan. Black median income has fallen by 10.9 percent to $33,500 compared to a 3.6 percent drop for whites (with their median income at $58,000). 25 percent of black women don’t have health insurance. The Great Recession has harmed many black people. Still, reactionaries want to promote the myth of the “culture of poverty,” which blames poor people (not capitalism, racism, discrimination, bad Wall Street economic policies, and economic deprivation) for the crisis of poverty in America in general. On May 10, 2007, Alabama state trooper James Bonard Fowler is indicted for the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson on February 18, 1965. On June 28, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 decided along with Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education prohibits assigning students to public schools solely for the purpose of achieving racial integration and declines to recognize racial balancing as a compelling state interest.. By December 10, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7–2 in Kimbrough v. United States that judges may deviate from federal sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine.
The Age of Obama
Also, 2007 was the time of a new political era. On February 10, 2007, Barack Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was viewed as symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in 1858. Barack Obama was a Senator of Illinois. In that historic speech, he talked about energy independence, reforming health care, the economy, opposing the Iraq War, and leadership. He is an eloquent speaker and he proclaimed himself as a progressive. He defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary of Iowa. By 2008, his popularity grew and he defeated John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election. In 2009, President Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first African American President in American history. It was a historic time. Later, President Barack Obama has shown a more neoliberal agenda. He has executed both good policy decisions and bad policy decisions (especially in the bailouts to Wall Street and a hawkish, imperialist foreign policy with his drone policies, etc.). His passage of the Affordable Care Act is a mixture of good and bad parts in it causing a new shift in health care policies. This is why people want an expanded health care system where universal health care is made for all not just for the middle class and the rich. In 2009, Michael Steele was made the Republican National Committee. In the same year of 2009, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the start of 2010, a new decade comes about. On July 19, 2010, Shirley Sherrod first is pressured to resign from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and immediately thereafter receives its apology after she is inaccurately accused of being racist towards white Americans. On August 3, 2010, Fair Sentencing Act was passed, which reduced sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine to an 18:1 ratio. In 2011, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is established on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Many corporate sponsors funded the ceremony, but the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was against corporate power and he criticized capitalism explicitly. He was for social justice throughout his life. In 1966 King confided to his staff:
"You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism..."
Dr Martin Luther King Jr. even called the U.S. government the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today in his Riverside Church speech of April 4, 1967. In November 19, 2010, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. (who was a black man) was killed. In February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. This evil crime represented a new era of the debates of racism, vigilantism, and police brutality in this century. The trial lasted for a while and Zimmerman was voted not guilty by a mostly white jury in 2013. Protests existed nationwide. Barack Obama won the 2012 Presidential election against Mitt Romney and the President has his second term. In Mach 9, 2013, New York police officers shoot 16-year-old Kimani Gray, triggering weeks of protests in Brooklyn. In May 9, 2013, Malcolm Shabazz was killed Mexico. He was the grandson of Malcolm X and Malcolm Shabazz knew about consciousness, imperialism, racial justice matters, etc. The FBI continues to try to arrest Sister Assata Shakur. One of the most evil events in 2013 was when the U.S. Supreme Court in June 25, 2013 (a date that will live in infamy) overturned part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (or Section 5 of the act being gutted). In July 13, people protested nationwide over Zimmerman being called not guilty.
In 2013, a new group develops called Black Lives Matter. It was formed as a hashtag and then it expanded into a nationwide plus international movement to fight police brutality, racism, poverty, discrimination, and all injustices in the world. Black Lives Matter exists now in protests, meetings, civil disobedience, and other actions. They merge the actions of old school civil rights groups, with the pro-black message of the Black Power movement along with them using the power of technology (or social media) in their actions. Its founders are 3 black women who are Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. These founders believe in defending the rights of black people irrespective of background. On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island, NYC after the police officer put him an illegal chokehold for 15 seconds. Medical workers didn’t immediately try to save his life. The death of Eric Garner caused protests nationwide.
The truth is that many young black people are social activists in our generation. The corporate media doesn’t report readily on this fact, but tons of black people are working day in and day out in mentorships, combating police terrorism, standing up for racial justice, and developing solutions in the black community. The Dream Defenders for years have stood up against imperialism, zero tolerance policies in schools, patriarchy, and other evils. The Black Lives Matter movement since 2013 has stood up against the criminal injustice system and police brutality. Hands Up United, Black Youth Project, and other activist organizations have not only lead protests in America. They have been involved in discussions, standing up for black liberation, and realizing that we are all in this together. The Black Immigration Network also has done great work to defend immigrant rights and to show the truth regardless of our nationality or place of birth, we are one black people. We are part of one community. According to Sister Opal Tometi, there are about 500,000 undocumented black immigrants in America. There are about 11 million undocumented immigrants nationally in total. Black immigrants have been detained by the feds and many lack job opportunities and face discrimination in the workplace.
We have the right to speak up about these issues and make changes. The nefariousness of respectability politics have been combated by those who believe fully in social justice. It is very important to end the incarceration state, to invest in poor communities especially, and to expand adequate housing and jobs for human beings. We want poor people (not just the middle class and the rich) to have access to universal health care and healthy foods too. The state apparatus has oppressed us for a long time, and that is why progressive alternatives to deregulated capitalism, imperialism, the prison industrial complex (as black people and others have been readily raped, assaulted, abused , etc. in prisons nationwide and worldwide. Solitary confinement is still common in many facilities as well), and bigotry must exist for all. Regardless of our nationalities or backgrounds, we are black people and we want justice and human liberation.
The Age of Ferguson and Beyond
The events in Ferguson changed Black America and the world forever. On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was murdered by police Office Darren Wilson (who slandered Brown and called him a “demon”). He was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. The prosecution had conflicts of interests and one person was a racist involved in determining whether changes would be made against Wilson. Immediately, demonstrations occurred and the rebellion happened in Ferguson for many days. The “Hands Up, Don’t shoot” expression was popularized. People of many races stood in solidarity with Michael Brown’s family and friends. The Black Lives Matter movement grew and in 2015, Freddie Gray died in police custody.
His body was twisted by the offices and no immediate medical assistance came to his aid. He died on April 19, 2015. Freddie Gray was only 25 years old. Later, protests came about in Baltimore and the rebellion in Baltimore existed in 2015. We see how the police military occupation of Baltimore only ended back in May of 2015. We see that the mayor, the city council, and the city is majority African American. A large group of black people working together is always beautiful. In real life in early March of 2016, I recently traveled into Baltimore. I have been to Downtown Baltimore and throughout the city from Russell Street to Wambash Avenue including Liberty Heights Avenue. I’ve seen stadiums, I have seen Mondawmin Mall, I have been on Pennsylvania Avenue, and I have seen many Brothers and Sisters in Baltimore including my relatives (who live in Baltimore). So, we see these problems as a result of racism (as Baltimore experienced massive segregation decades ago) and class oppression. In history, there are some people, who have a stake in defending their property and wealth and overseeing a system that produces ever-greater poverty for black and non-black workers alike. For over five decades, Baltimore have seen the deindustrialization of major manufacturing centers like Baltimore, combined with an unrelenting destruction of social programs. Therefore, it is necessary for us to see that oligarchy is the enemy and we want black liberation, so total human liberation is a reality. In 2015 alone, at least six Black women have been killed by or after encounters with police. The Say Her Name movement also has done a great job in defending the human lives of black women. Not only are black men being murdered, but black women are being murdered too. Alexia Christian was shot and killed by the Atlanta police in 2015. Natasha McKenna was tasered to death by the police in Fairfax. Alberta Spruill, Rekia Boyd, Shantel Davis, and other black women have been killed too.
2015 also represented the 60th year anniversary of the Selma movement and the Voting Rights Act. Ironically, we are still fighting against regressive voting ID laws in states across America (not just in the Deep South). On June 27, 2015, the heroic Sister Bree Newsome took down the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. This came after a murderer murdered innocent black people in a Charleston, SC Church. Bree Newsome was arrested and she scaled a 30- ft. police. She lowered the flag and she was arrested along with a person helping her named James Ian Tyson. People in crowd applauded Newsome’s great efforts. By July 10, 2015, the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House. It was sent to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum. The taking down of the flag was a historic moment in our history.
The University of Missouri protests are another recent example of black people using progressive activism in fighting for real change. The University was found in Columbia, Missouri. For years and decades, black people talked about the massive racism and discrimination in the University of Missouri. Even black university facility talked about experiencing racism. Payton Head used his Facebook post to complain of bigotry and racism in the campus. He said that in an incident off campus, unidentified people in the back of a passing pickup truck directed racial slurs at him. Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin called the incident "totally unacceptable" on September 17 Student protests happened in September 24, 2015. Later in October of 2015, the student group "Concerned Student 1950" was created; referring to the first year the University of Missouri admitted black students. More racist incidents occurred in the university. This caused Johnathan Butler to have a hunger strike in November 3. He won’t eat until the President resigned. Butler was active in the Ferguson protests against the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. The events of Ferguson inspired him to use social activism. On November 8, black football players announced they would not practice or play until Wolfe resigned, potentially costing the university a $1 million fine if they had to forfeit an upcoming game against Brigham Young University. Wolfe resigned at the end of 2015. Many protests existed in other university with similar demands of racial justice as found in Ithaca College, Yale University, Smith College, Claremont McKenna College, Amherst College, and Brandeis University. So, we should know that this is a class struggle too as economic justice is important to advance too. The Justice of Else march in October of 2015 came 20 years after the Million Man March. The Justice of Else march included people of color, women, and people of various creeds and backgrounds. It also included more young people. So, regardless of how people feel about various leaders, the struggle continues. Recently, hip hop lost one of its pioneers during late March of 2016. There are a lot of superlatives to describe Phife. He was the heart and soul of the Tribe Called Quest. He was the principal founder of the group since 1985. He was a man with a lot of will, determination, and character. The Tribe revolutionized hip hop music from its lyrical content to its inclusion of jazz plus other musical influences in the genre. Phife exemplified strength and courage. His life is about the expression of music and human compassion. His family and his friends have been by his side and real people send condolences to his family and friends. The legacy of the Tribe Called Quest is eternal. Groups and artists today copy Phife's wordplay and other aspects of his musical delivery. For years, I knew of his records and his contributions to music in general. He will be missed and no one on this Earth can replace his talent. RIP Brother Phife.
In 2015 to 2016, the Flint, Michigan water crisis has harmed black people and other people too. We have mainstream TV shows including movies that degrade black people that we must never support. We have many black families suffering poverty. Also, we have tons of black people doing what is right, helping families, and fighting for social justice too. So, in 2016, Black America has experienced good and bad news. We are in a crossroads in our history. The lessons of community organizing, being anti-imperialist, and fighting for equality are lessons that we follow and love. We are fighting for all black people in the world to be free and have justice. We will always keep our eyes on the prize.
Conclusion to the Spring 2016 Series
For a long time, we have heard one big myth. That myth is that we have to be "pragmatic" in order for us to get what we want. During the 19th century, the evil laws of the Fugitive Slave Act and the Missouri Compromise were formed in the realm of "pragmatism." Even some token laws were formed involving civil rights under the guise of "compromise." Yet, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, and slave revolts are the antithesis of compromise. The Voting Rights Act (which repudiated racist nullification statues of bigots) was also the antithesis of pragmatism too. Our black ancestors never bled and died for the existence of pragmatism. They bled and fought for justice, so their descendants can live in a land filled with justice and social tranquility unequivocally. So, we tried the neoliberal pragmatism for decades in America. It doesn't work. We need revolutionary change where there is social justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and gender justice. We want to live in a society where there is not only living wages for all, but we want universal health care for all (which exists in many industrialized nations).
It is a total injustice and a disgrace that the residents of Flint, Michigan has to pay such an exorbitant amount of money for poisoned water. The residents of Flint are not only the victims of a poisoned water supply. The folks involved in the tragedy have used a cover up (in dismissing the courageous actions of whistle blowers like professor Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech, who was one of the first to expose lead in the water of Flint, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is a great woman helping society) in order to cover up their tracks. This blatant injustice once against proves that unregulated capitalism is not only evil, but it has ruined the lives of so many people (including black and poor people. Most of the residents of Flint, Michigan are black people). Austerity doesn't work either. People who are involved in this evil are among many levels of government not just the state government. The anti-democratic emergency manager system has overtly violated the human rights of the people of Flint and people from areas all across Michigan. Infrastructure must be rebuilt and pipes must be replaced. Billions of dollars are spent for warfare overseas, yet some people refuse to spend even millions of dollars to help the citizens of Flint. Flint has been a victim of deindustralization, rate hikes, and high foreclosures. The water crisis started in part, because some people wanted to cut corners and fund the bailout of bankers in Michigan at the expense of the water safety of people. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), used revenue from water bills to pay budget shortfalls. Studies have documented that water privatization in many places of America has harmed quality, efficiency, and other processes of delivering water to human beings. High lead levels exist in cities throughout America as well. E-mails show Michigan state officials knew of Legionnaires’ outbreak in Flint in early 2015. The decision to stay on Flint River water was made by Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose. In March of 2015, after nearly a year of public complaints about the water quality Ambrose overruled a Flint City Council vote to return to Detroit water system. Ambrose flatly refused the Council’s request. Governor Snyder, Darnell Earley, and others must be held accountable for their actions. We abhor class oppression. The more facts that come out about this crisis, the more outrage people legitimately are expressing. The Emergency Manager Law must be repealed outright. Anyone involved in the poisoning and the cover up must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (and sent into prison after due process). We want justice and we desire just treatment given to the human beings of Flint, Michigan.