Name: Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny
City: Flint, Michigan
Area of Focus: Flint water crisis and environmental racism
In 2014, city officials in Flint, Michigan, tapped into the Flint River as a temporary water source to save money.
But the river’s water was more corrosive than old water sources. When it reached Flint’s aging infrastructure, lead from the plumbing leeched into the water. Soon, residents complained the water flowing from their taps smelled and tasted off. Reports flooded in about skin rashes and hair loss.
But because Flint’s residents are mostly Black and low-income, they were largely ignored or dismissed by government officials.