Miss Michigan is the latest public figure to criticize the Flint water crisis.
Emily Sioma went on stage Sunday at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for her opening statement and went straight to addressing Michigan’s serious issues, Vulture reported.
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"From the state with 84% of the United States' freshwater but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan Emily Sioma," she introduced herself with a smile.
“from the state with 84 percent of the u.s. fresh water but none for its residents to drink, i am miss michigan emily sioma” — the new #missamerica2019 pageant did not come to play pic.twitter.com/H05eifix2e— alex rees (@maybealexislost) September 10, 2018
Sioma has plenty of reason to share concern and spread awareness.
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Lead piping has caused a deadly water crisis since 2014 in Flint, Michigan. Nearly 100,000 residents of the majority-black city were exposed to dangerously high lead levels in the water. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights blames the government’s negligence on systemic environmental racism. The contamination has been responsible for at least 12 deaths, and more than 80 people were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease.
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Local residents are still advised to only drink filtered and bottled water. The city stopped giving out free bottled water in April, hurting many residents who can’t afford to buy it themselves. Flint isn’t expected to replace its pipe system until 2020, BBC reports.
Flint needs voices ike Simoa to urge the government to replace it sooner.
Luckily, Miss Michigan isn’t the only celebrity taking on the flint water crisis. In July, billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk announced he’d install water filters in Flint homes with contamination levels above FDA standards. And Beyoncé gave her fans the opportunity to donate to an organization aiding the Flint water crisis when buying tickets for her 2016 tour.