Imagine, you wake up in the morning, go to brush your teeth and end up seeing brown water mixing with your bright blue toothpaste on your toothbrush creating a muddy tableau. After you brush your teeth with the colored water, you proceed to take a shower with the same water. Then, you boil the same colored water to make tea and the cycle goes on.
What if you found out that the reason your water’s so colorful isn’t because your faucet suddenly decided to pull a prank on you, but instead, because your city council is actually trying to poison your entire city with lead water in order to save money?
On top of all of this, if you were living in a predominantly black city with mostly poor families, what would you make of all this?
The water crisis in Flint is a tragic event that is slowly but surely destroying a community of black people and no one is taking is responsibility for this mass poisoning. I have no other words to describe this crisis but call it environmental racism.
Personally, I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have access to clean water for my daily needs. The fact that these people are being robbed of one of their most basic human rights is alarming and as a nation we should be doing more to help the citizens of Flint.
Media coverage of the crisis is limited and the information that is presented in the media is often twisted to misguide readers/viewers.
With all the unfairness surrounding the Flint water crisis, I have decided to dedicate my final project to raising awareness for Flint and educating people about this tragedy through a performance art piece. As of right now, I am thinking about creating a solo piece with self written poetry, borrowed music and devised choreography.
My main focus right now is generating material that I can try to piece together and create an educational and motivational art piece. However, I am also thinking about how I would go about performing the piece for the class and for outside audiences. After all, the whole point of the piece is to raise awareness and get people to talk more about Flint.
Some performance options are:
- creating a short film out of the performance art piece,
- performing the piece at a specific location in New York (parks, subway stations etc.) and filming the public performance to present in class,
- or renting out a performance studio and inviting people to come see it free of charge.
I am excited, thrilled, and anxious to start creating content using news articles, interviews, documentaries and other media sources as primary sources. I know I’m not changing the face of the world with this project, but I like to approach it as a baby step towards aiding a major problem in America that most probably won’t be solved until many decades after I am gone.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the legendary, incomparable Maya Angelou:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.“
If I can’t change the situation in Flint, maybe I can at least change the way a hand full of people view this environmentally racist crisis.