The Poisoning of an American City: A Poem

By Christopher D. Sims, DRUUMM, UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory, & Commit2Respond

As I walked through the Cleveland Heights Library and made my way to the magazine section, “The Poisoning Of An American City” on the cover of Time Magazine instantly caught my attention.

I knew what was going on. I had seen footage on the news of what happened right here on American soil. How could it happen? How could a governor allow this to happen to his own constituents? Aren’t the mostly black citizens of Flint, MI people too?

I could not imagine this happening in the state I reside in. I couldn’t imagine drinking poisoned water from the sink. But the citizens of Flint have. They’ve bathed in it just the same. Mothers and fathers have cleaned their children with poisoned water. Those children, many of them harmed by it, will be affected by it for years to come. Join me in demanding justice for the people of Flint: sign the petition to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. 

As a human rights activist it is my duty to bring attention to atrocities such as this. I hope my words paint a clear picture of what has happened there and encourages you to take action if you haven’t. As a Unitarian Universalist I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being.

I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of the people of Flint, MI. Let this poem be evidence of that and encourage us to continue to fight for justice – especially for the right to have clean, drinkable water.

In peace and faith,

Christopher D. Sims
Member, Commit2Respond Communications & Resources Team


The Poisoning Of An American City

There’s lead in the water; lead inside 
the bodies of children. The governor of
Flint, Michigan is the villain - his own
citizens are the victims. He should be serving 
time in a jail or a prison. They wonder why we
people of color point fingers at the system. 
You have to ask, what were his intentions?! 
When such an event like this happens, it defies 
comprehension!

We need leaders with a heart and a vision
that all people should be treated equal. 
In other countries this kind of action would 
not even be conceivable. Even at first thought
it’s unbelievable! 

An American tragedy taking place right
here on our soil. It’s torture and turmoil.
Enough to make one’s temperature boil.

Why didn’t he think about the youth?
Why didn’t he put safe water to use?

In a “post-racial” USA this is happening
right now, right here, today. This is environmental
racism and profits over people at play.

Is he or his family drinking poisoned water? 
Would he let his own son or daughter?

Our country already has a dirty past, 
why should it be a present day theme?

What an unjust, American, and amazing
thing! The Poisoning Of An American City
reads the front cover of Time Magazine.

© Christopher D. Sims
February 4, 2016

Christopher D. Sims is an internationally recognized poet, spoken word performer, and human rights activist. As a Unitarian Universalist lay leader, he serves on the steering committee for DRUUMM (Diverse, Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries), the UUA’s Nominating Committee, the Green Sanctuary Advisory Board, and is a member of the UU Environmental Justice Collaboratory. You can read more of his social justice poems at christopherdsims.wordpress.com and listen to them at soundcloud.com/UniverSouLove


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