Children’s water drive for Flint surpasses goal
By St. Clair Murraine
As one of Tallahassee’s progressive teenagers, AJ Reaves has been involved in a lot of community projects.
But it was obvious that being part of a group of high school students spearheading a drive that collected 40,000 bottles of water for children in Flint, Mich., was a huge accomplishment. Grade-school students from Bethel Christian Academy also participated in the drive.
“It’s bigger than the adults,” Reaves said, standing near a rig that left Tallahassee last week loaded with cases of bottled water. “The children have to get into it, too.
“Up in Flint, there are a lot of children who are in need. For us to get into it, we have our voices heard. If we have our voices heard it means more to some people than the older adults. We are making a difference here.”
Indeed. The original goal was to collect 10,000 bottles. That multiplied four times after the group called on State Representative Alan Williams to assist in the month-long campaign.
The truckload of water was delivered in Flint on Tuesday, with school children and the Sheriff department assisting, said R.B. Holmes, president of the local chapter of the National Action Network.
Williams and Holmes praised the young people’s effort. Holmes also recognized members of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, where he is pastor, for handling the logistics of the project.
Holding up a bottle of water, Holmes told the school children what their peers in Flint are getting is “water that does not look like this.” What they have been getting in their homes for more than two years is “brown and yellow water,” Holmes said.
Williams’ involvement was pivotal to the water for Flint campaign surpassing the original goal. He couldn’t refuse the call to get involved, Williams said.
“I said why not,” he said. “I used my platform as state representative to amplify what these students were doing as future leaders.”
His staff put out the call to other House representatives. His colleagues were quick to respond, doing so beyond his expectation, he said.
“One thing we realized about what’s going on in Flint is the lack of government action,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, when the water comes out of the faucet, it shouldn’t be red or blue. It should be clear. There is no partisanship to clean and healthy water.
“It’s about what’s right for the people of Flint. We hope that we don’t have that same thing happen in Florida. But if we do, we know we have good men and women; Republicans and Democrats ready to step up.”
So were the children of BCA. Big time.
“How exciting is that,” Robyn Seniors, another of the high school students who led the campaign, said to the group of children gathered for the water sendoff. “Can you guys believe that?”