FLINT, Michigan—Live water hoses, water dunk tanks, and pool slides were the main attraction for swarms of kids that Saturday, but it was symbolic of a greater celebration: A new water filter at Haskell Community Center.
The community center located on Forest Hill Avenue in Flint’s Civic Park neighborhood is now home to one of 84 point-of-entry filtration units installed in the city. Called Filter-King 03, the unit cleans itself while also removing lead and bacteria from the water, said Syrah Scott, executive chairman of National Clean Water Collective, a non-profit based in New York City that works to support Flint residents affected by the water crisis.
“People can go back to showering, people can go back to taking baths, and using the tap water from their filter,” said Scott.
The community center hosted its 2nd Flint Town “Back to School” Carnival Splash on Saturday, Aug. 17, as part of the celebration.
While kids splashed in filtered water near the community center entrance, local talents including rapper Mama Sol and poet Isaac Kemp gave their voices to the mic to call for continued awareness of the Flint water crisis. WNBA star Deana Nolan volunteered with food distribution and actor Hill Harper of “The Good Doctor” television show and founder of Northstar Legal Group, a social justice law entity, encouraged residents to pursue their legal rights.
“This event is about education and clearing up misinformation, getting people to sign in,” said Harper. “But also to have fun and celebrate the community. “
Calvin McQueen of Flint PAL Corp, one of the event organizers, estimated attendance at 300-400 people.
Sarai Mitchell, 3, attended with her grandmother Ruth Harrison and impatiently pulled her hand toward the bounce houses — even though Harrison was most interested in the resource tables filled with boxed water and backpacks for the giveaway.
“My granddaughter is excited,” chuckled Harrison, who now lives in Mt. Morris but stays up-to-date with information about the water crisis and its impacts, including bone density tests offered during the carnival. “We lived in the city — my children, grandchildren all lived in the city. My granddaughter has speech delays and so you know, it’s good to be able to get these things done.”