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Obama Accepted An 8-Year Old Activist’s Invitation To Flint

This marks the President’s first trip since the start of the water crisis

President Barack Obama will be finally making a trip to Flint, Michigan—a city that has been fighting an ongoing water crisis since April 2014—next week, answering the request of 8-year old Flint activist, Mari Copeny. The young organizer, known locally as Little Miss Flint, wrote the president a letter in March asking him to visit the city following a tragedy that has exposed an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 children to lead poisoning and put Governor Rick Snyder in hot water over his obvious neglect of the issue.


“I know this is probably a odd request but I would love for a chance to meet you or your wife,” she wrote. “My mom said chances are you will be to busy with more important things but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people’s spirits. Thank you for all that do for our country.”

Copeny sent the letter right before she travelled to Washington, D.C. to witness the congressional hearings of Governor Snyder, who was forced to explain how the water crisis happened under his purview. She’s one of the most recognizable young faces in Flint’s activist circles, which earned her the title of “Little Miss Flint”. The water crisis has hit the children of Michigan’s saddest city the hardest, as lead poisoning is known to cause developmental problems in young kids. Flint children who received blood tests were found to have higher levels of the chemical in their blood than is considered typical. The effects of the exposure will only become clear in the long-term.

President Obama responded to Copeny’s precocious letter this week, and posted a copy to the White House’s Medium account where he also responded to Copeny’s request, “You’re right that Presidents are often busy, but the truth is, in America, there is no more important title than citizen,” he wrote. “And I am so proud of you for using your voice to speak out on behalf of the children of Flint. That’s why I want you to be the first to know that I’m coming to visit Flint on May 4th. I want to make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve.”

Obama will make the trip on Wednesday, May 4 to hear “first-hand from Flint residents like Mari about the public health crisis, receive an in-person briefing on the federal efforts in place to help respond to the needs of the people of Flint, and speak directly with members of the Flint community.” It will be his first trip to the city since the water crisis began.

President Obama's Letter to Mari Copeny.