Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Racism against 12 year old girl in St. Joe, Mich. school, teachers laugh

Please read this below. We are planning a protest to support our children and community. Please join us Tuesday at 9:30am. Anyone reading this can call the school principal, Amy Roth, 269-983-3056 to file a complaint.  Why is racism tolerated in your school?  A religious school?  Etc.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Mayor Marcus Muhammad Did Nothing to Save Benton Harbor Residents from Lead

Despite knowing that lead was common in the Benton Harbor water distribution system, Mayor Marcus Muhammad did nothing. This was a crime against residents.

In 2018, as a system serving less than 50,000 residents, Benton Harbor was not required to implement corrosion control treatment until it exceeded the lead action level.  Nevertheless, the common presence of lead in the system made Benton Harbor a ticking time bomb. The question was not whether it would exceed the lead action level, but when. Mayor Muhammad did nothing and now has blood
on his hands.  We have no idea how many residents may have died from kidney, liver, or heart disease, or brain damage due to water contamination.  

While the Benton Harbor 2018 survey conducted by EGLE identified lead as a potential
issue, it did not provide recommendations aimed at ensuring Benton Harbor was proactively addressing the problem. It stated that the presence of lead in the distribution
system is notable and that the majority of service lines contained lead. Regarding corrosion control treatment, the sanitary survey recommended that the Mayor continue to optimize the treatment system and the distribution system operation to minimize lead releases, but failed to note that the city was not utilizing any treatment to prevent the corrosion of lead pipes at the time. 

Once the Benton Harbor water system was required to implement a corrosion control treatment after it exceeded the lead action level, the process for selecting and implementing corrosion control treatment ran afoul of the EPA guidance. When a system that is not utilizing any corrosion control treatment exceeds the lead, the State must make a choice.

It must either designate optimal corrosion control treatment or require the local water system to conduct a study to gather more information before it designates the optimal corrosion control treatment.

The EPA has issued guidance to assist states with making decisions. Relevant to Benton Harbor, that guidance recommends the following:

If the water system has lead service lines, the state should require the water system to conduct a corrosion control study. Water system seeking to utilize blending phosphates as a corrosion control treatment should do so with caution and, if used, states should require a demonstration study of additional monitoring, or both.

In Benton Harbor, the Mayor and EGLE failed to follow the EPA Guidance highlighted above both in regards to the corrosion control study and implementation of the corrosion control treatment.

We must confront local, state, and federal government. The Benton Harbor Community Water Council became a whistleblower, with threats from Mayor Marcus Muhammad and Governor Whitmer. They were forced to provide clean safe water to Benton Harbor. We must replace evil with good. It's all about the people. Let's save the people.      

Rev Edward Pinkney

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Mayor Marcus Muhammad failed the residents of Benton Harbor/Drinking water crisis

A petition was filed on September 9, 2021 to the US Environmental Protection Agency by Rev Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor Community Water Council, and a group of local and state drinking water advocates.  They put a spot light on the lead contamination in Benton Harbor's drinking water system. The issues with Benton Harbor's system ran deep and the warning signs for drinking the water crisis were obvious as early as 2018. However, it took the united community voice of the Benton Harbor Community Water Council and the support of many partners to ensure that Mayor Marcus Muhammad, Gov. Whitmer, and the EPA would take action on this chronic public health issue. This included a petition filed by myself and the  BH Community Water Council to force quicker action.

In 2018, a sanitary survey conducted by the agency then know as the Department of Environmental Quality identified 10 significant deficiencies in the Benton Harbor water system. The survey identified significant issues with the water treatment system, the distribution system, system management and operations, and financial shortfalls. Notable, the sanitary survey did not highlight lead contamination as the primary concern and it's recommendation for minimizing lead risk was not given a high priority. The state tested 51 homes and 35 to 37 were above 15ppb, which is the action level.   

After Benton Harbor's water system exceeded the lead action levels for the first time in the fall of 2018, the governmental response lacked the urgency the crisis clearly called for and was characterized by a focus on the technical and bureaucratic of drinking water regulation rather than the big picture: the protection of public health, the protection of the residents, the protection of the city. What happened in Benton Harbor should not happen to any other city or town in America. It is up to the people, we must confront local, state and federal governments to make sure this never, ever happens again.       

Rev Edward Pinkney

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Mayor Marcus Muhammad the Killer Mayor. Also, Benton Harbor racial disparity statistics

Mayor Marcus Muhammad failed the residents of Benton Harbor. He did not notify them of the lead and bacterial contamination of their water. The law states officials MUST notify residents by mail and he failed to do so.

With state and federal drinking laws in place, Benton Harbor continued to have high lead levels well into 2022. Why then do we not have a single agency taking responsibility for the crisis, and why did it take so long for Benton Harbor?

Lead destroys the liver, kidneys, heart, brain, and body. We have no idea how many Benton Harbor residents died during and since the water crisis from the contaminated water. Again, and it cannot be said often enough, Mayor Muhammad should have notified the residents of Benton Harbor of the damager of drinking contaminated water.

At its core, the lead crisis in Benton Harbor is the result of racial discrimination and segregation, the familiar phenomenon of white fight, and misguided decision by Mayor Muhammad.

The story of Benton Harbor's Black population is a familiar one throughout the midwest in the1960’s. As Benton Harbor’s Black population rapidly grew, its white population declined just as rapidly. Benton Harbor's white population decreased from 14,290 in 1960 to just 6,707 in 1970 - more than a 50% decrease. During the same time, Benton Harbor's Black population increased from 4,846 to 9,774.

Black residents coming to Benton Harbor faced discrimination in multiple ways. 

In housing, the Benton Harbor Housing Commission segregated public housing by operating one housing project for Black residents and another for white residents. It also refused admission of Black veterans to its veteran housing project solely on the basis of race. 

Racial segregation in schools was also very prevalent throughout Benton Harbor and the surrounding region. Eventually, many of Benton Harbor's white residents segregated themselves from the city and its increasing Black population by moving to other nearby communities.

The history of segregation in the Benton Harbor region persists to this day. The Niles-Benton Harbor metro area has been ranked as the fifth most segregated metro area in the country. The region continues to have some of the most segregated public school systems in the country. It has one of the worst disparities regarding high school attainment, with an attainment rate of 92.1% for majority-white neighborhoods and only 72.4% for majority-Black neighborhoods.

Mayor Muhammad surly failed the residents of Benton Harbor, no community should have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink. I am not sure today if the water is safe to drink.               . .    


Rev Edward Pinkney