At the age of 12, Mari Copeny is using her voice to be heard around the world from the town of Flint, Michigan. Her journey began when she was eight years old and decided to raise awareness about her family’s situation of having no access to clean water. Copeny wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama about the issue. Inspired by her determination, Obama wrote a responding letter and flew into Flint to aid in assisting the community. The visit of the former president brought awareness from the media to the town. Copeny is recognized as ‘Little Miss Flint’ from people near and far. There is a photo circulating the internet of Copeny with a solemn look on her face holding a sign that reads, “Flint, MI has been without clean water since April 24, 2014.” There is also another photo that was taken four years later of Copeny holding a sign with the same statement written across it.
Courtesy: Mari Copeny
The contrast of these photos regarding the time difference forces the public to focus their attention on why an entire community is still living in such inhumane conditions. As a voice of her generation, Copeny assumed the responsibility of advocacy to make real changes for herself, her family and her neighbors. Little Miss Flint attended marches and protests. She volunteered by passing out water and other supplies and wrote letters to anyone willing to listen to her cause. Due to her persistence, Copeny has created many opportunities to help improve areas with poor water quality for communities nationwide. For her current GoFundMe campaign, Little Miss Flint has paired with the socially-responsible water filtration company, Hydroviv. For every dollar donated to the campaign, the equivalent of over 160 water bottles worth of safe drinking water will be accessible to the public. Copeny insists that this collaboration is highly effective compared to supplying communities with plastic water bottles. Not only are water filters more environmentally friendly, but time is also of value as well. Little Miss Flint has witnessed firsthand the very long lines of people waiting to receive donated water. Water filtrations eliminate this time constraint and provide water on demand to every home. Founded in 2015, Hydroviv was brought to fruition by Ph.D. Chemist Eric Roy. The treatment plant for the town of Flint had inadequate equipment, allowing lead and bacteria to mix into the water from the river. Roy’s company was a solution shared in response to the Flint Lead Crisis. With collective help, Copeny’s fundraiser has raised nearly $130,000, just short of its $150,000 goal. Social media continues to play a large role in the active participation and sharing of this campaign. Beyond caring for her community, Mari Copeny’s campaign is also focused on directing clean water efforts to the areas of Newark, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and parts of New York City.
If you’d like to take action and help fight for Little Miss Flint’s cause, click the link below.