Add Russell Simmons and the RushCard to the list of celebrities who are helping out residents of Flint, Mich., during their water crisis. Simmons teamed up with AQUAhydrate to donate 150,000 bottles of water; the donation is part of Sean Combs' and Mark Wahlberg's pledge of 1 million bottles to the city.
Simmons was in Flint on Monday to survey the damage the water crisis has caused families in the area and spoke about what should be happening.
"It seems the beginning of relief just started now, and even though people were aware of the crisis for some time, it makes it even more shocking and depressing," Simmons told the Free Press. "It’s not a natural disaster, but they should be able to do more. What's happening here, this kind of environmental racism, could be happening in many other parts of the county. If this were Beverly Hills, it would be a minute before we found out and a second before someone would be blamed and be brought up on charges."
And Simmons is correct.
From lead poisoning to other health issues, people in Flint have been dealt a disservice. And to call it environmental racism is an understatement.
While in Flint, Simmons met with a mother who discussed her son's health issues caused by the contaminated water.
"My youngest one, she used to just pass out, and they couldn't determine what was wrong with her, and recently she started having seizures," Nakeyja Cade said. "They did an MRI, did her blood level, and they said, due to the lead, it triggers seizures. Right now she's doing OK, but we can't live off bottled water. Something has to get done. It's been really tough on my family."
The atrocities that residents in Flint have been dealing with would never happen in well-to-do communities or cities. The people in Flint have been dealing with the long-term effects of the water crisis for some time. And even after the water is cleaned, if it ever is, the damage is already done.