Three days before Bernie Sanders called for the resignation of Michigan governor Rick Snyder over the Flint water contamination crisis, Hillary Clinton sent staff to the beleaguered city to help. On MSNBC, she called on Snyder to take action; whether he heard her or not, the next morning he’d announced that he’d requested federal help. She introduced it unprovoked into the January 17 debate; Flint’s mayor endorsed her the following day.
On Saturday, Clinton continued her rhetorical push for attention to—and action in—Flint by publishing an op-ed on MSNBC’s site. Her main point? Flint isn’t alone.
“What’s happening in Flint today happened 10 years ago in predominantly low-income, African-American and Latino areas of Washington, D.C.,” Clinton writes. She cited the disparate racial impact of environmental catastrophes throughout the nation, from Houston to Baltimore to a majority-minority community outside San Francisco surrounded by Superfund sites, oil refineries, and chemical companies. (Clinton later called for one of four newly agreed-upon debates to take place in Flint.)
Clinton’s op-ed also notes that she’s not new to the fight against environmental injustice. That said, it is worth bearing in mind that Clinton, who is so closely tied to the emboldening of structural racism during her husband’s administration, is also now trying to make amends. Whether electorates of color will buy it, who knows? Either way, this was good to see.
This has been updated.