Flint residents offer advice to Newark residents on water crisis

FLINT (WJRT) (08/13/19) - More concern surrounding the water crisis. This time, in Newark, New Jersey.

Officials declared the city's water unsafe after finding dangerous levels of lead in two homes.

In Flint, it's an issue residents have been dealing with for five years: the long lines, the health risks, the stress.

The people going through it all have some advice to share.

Mayor Ras Baraka said, "Newark is not Flint." The way lead entered the drinking water may differ, but the result is still the same. There's a significant health problem running out of people's tap water, and it's becoming a public health crisis nationwide.

"This is a public health issue, but we need social work at the table. We need engineering at the table. We need medicine at the table. We need educators at the table. We need politicians at the table. It needs to have a cross-sector, interdisciplinary initiative to address this issue," Dr. Kent Key said.

Many residents in Newark were forced to wait in long lines for cases of water, a scene all too familiar for those living in Flint. After facing the crisis for five years, many in Flint had some words of wisdom.

They say there's power in patience and in prayer, but also in making sure your voice is heard.

"Continue to ask for help, and continue to make it present, so that anybody who can help will come forward and do what they can," Rose Bard, a Flint resident, said.

Dr. Kent Key is helping kids in Flint and Newark do just that. As the director of MSU's Flint Youth Justice League, he's connecting Flint and Newark's young people through a video conference.

"The youth are angry because they know this should not be happening in the United States. The second thing is, how can they bring awareness? In Newark, they're thinking, 'Nobody knows this is happening to us,' which is kind of how we felt in Flint. No one knew it was happening to us," Key said.

Mayor Karen Weaver released a statement on Monday afternoon addressing the issue in Newark. She said it's time for this country, for congress, and for the president to act as it relates to infrastructure.

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