Millennials Making an Impact: Amaka Agodi & Flint, MI

 

As a society, we cannot afford to grow fatigued by injustice.

In the face of adversity, discrimination and racism, we must unite and organize to advocate and spread awareness for those that are marginalized. Despite the multitude of issues across the country, there are a number of people fighting for progress and they remind each of us that we can all make an impact in our own unique way.

In our new video series, “Millennials Making an Impact”, we explore the motivations behind some of these real life people who empowered themselves to solve the issues they grew disheartened by.

Our first video features Amaka Agodi, a senior at the University of Southern California.


Amaka became aware of the Flint Water Crisis through Twitter, and grew horrified by the story:

In 2014, Michigan state government decided to switch the Flint water supply in order to save money. While the pipeline was being built between the city and the new water supply, the government decided to switch the pipes to the Flint River as a temporary measure. It is important to note that the Flint River had been severely degraded and polluted during the 1970s as a result of the manufacturing industry and local farmers. Although pollution levels were suspected to be substantially high, the Department of Environmental Quality did not properly treat the water with an anti corrosive agent, which resulted in high levels of lead in the water supply. Consequently, the city’s population is now suffering from high levels of lead poisoning, which can cause a number of irreversible health issues in every organ system—most notably the nervous system. Additionally, the city’s population has had a number of disease outbreaks related to the other pollutants and bacteria in the water.

Although Amaka Agodi has spent her entire life in California, she grew so disheartened by the news of Flint, Michigan that she extended her reach across the country and actively sought a way to be a part of its solution. She decided that awareness and advocacy was just as important as fundraising. As a student with a ton of resources, she utilized her privilege. She created a donation drive (www.gofundme.com/donationsforflint) and shared it across campus. Then, she threw a party for charity where she raised over $1200 in a weekend. Through the use of social media, she connected with members of the Justice League, a church in Flint, and the historically black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. Working directly with these members who were on the ground, she was able to understand and respond to the needs of those in the area without leaving California. Through her research, she discovered that Flint was a pre-dominantly black city where 40% of its residents lived below the poverty line. She soon learned that this was an example of environmental racism and that it is happening all over the country– even in her metaphorical backyard of East Oakland. Amaka decided raising money wasn’t enough and used her position as an on campus leader to program events about environmental racism in efforts to spread awareness and advocate for those marginalized by these issues.

I encourage my readers to listen to her interview here and subscribe to our Youtube channel to keep up with our new video series “Millennials Making an Impact”. There are so many amazing young people to highlight. If you know someone who deserves this spotlight for their efforts to make an impact in issues related to social justice, policy and politics, please email millennialandpolitical@gmail.com

I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. – Helen Keller

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