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Local Westside school collecting water for Flint Public Schools

Harrison Park Elementary students and staff are collecting bottled water to send to the schools in Flint to help with the water crisis.
Students at Harrison Park collecting water for Flint

Students at Harrison Park collecting water for Flint /Jullianie Mackey

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Local families and their students collect water at Harrison Park for Flint

Local families and their students collect water at Harrison Park for Flint /Jullianie Mackey

The Harrison Park School community is organizing in a collaboration between parents and school administrators to help our neighbors in Flint with their need for safe water.

The Parent Action Leader, Petronila Solares, at Harrison Park School, was an important part of the action to help out Flint’s water crisis. Before putting a plan in to action, it was important to make sure the plan was not only effective, but efficient. There needed to be a home for the water and a plan for how it was being transported and by whom.

The community started by calling area public schools in Flint- but many of the schools were being flooded with water and support. Space had become very limited. Digging a little deeper, it was discovered that the undocumented immigrants were among the last to find out about the lead in the water and are scared to reach out for help. Hitting home for some of our families here at Harrison Park, targeting this area where most of the undocumented lived became a priority. Working with St. Mary’s Church, on the east side of town, donations will be brought to them. They will then distribute to the families that have the most need. 

There are many reasons that undocumented families were being informed last, and then once they even knew were afraid to seek help. For one, the flyers or any formal important documentation regarding the water crisis was being sent out in English and not in Spanish. Second, most of the sites distributing water were asking for some form of identification. Lastly, the American Red Cross and the National Guard were actively going door to door to make sure residents had access to water and blood test but at the same time ICE (Immigration enforcement) were actively sweeping undocumented people for deportation. This brought fear to the Spanish community- enough to not seek help.

The Harrison Park community, once they had a focus and system in place, created flyers, connected with other schools on the west side and the West Grand Neighborhood Organization, and posted information on Facebook. News has been spreading fast with a huge response in just the last few days.

The collection drive began on Monday, January 25 and runs through February 5. Principal Troy Wilbon and many Harrison Park parents will help load up trucks and drive the water to Flint. The school's goal is to collect 100 cases of bottle water. Donations can be given at 1441 Davis Ave. NW.

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