I took this picture while visiting Flint Michigan Earlier this year 2016.
According to the Associated Press:
APRIL 2014: In an effort to save money, Flint begins drawing its water from the Flint River instead of relying on water from Detroit. The move is considered temporary while the city waits to connect to a new regional water system. Residents immediately complain about the smell, taste and appearance of the water, and raise health concerns, reporting rashes, hair loss and other problems.
OCTOBER 2014: A General Motors engine plant stops using Flint water, saying it rusts parts.
JANUARY 2015: Detroit offers to reconnect Flint to its water system, but Flint leaders insist the water is safe.
MARCH: Flint promises to spend $2.24 million on immediate improvements to its water supply. Later in the month, city officials say water quality has improved and meets all state and federal standards for safety.
SEPT. 24: A group of doctors urges Flint to stop using the Flint River for water after finding high levels of lead in the blood of children. State regulators insist the water is safe.
SEPT. 29: Gov. Rick Snyder pledges to take action in response to the lead levels _ the first acknowledgment by the state that lead is a problem.
Now here comes the fall out of the sheer and utter lack of regard for HUMAN LIFE. Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS behavior and the two year response to rectify the situation is at the very least Criminal, Irresponsible and Appalling.
God help us. If it were not for celebrity bringing this topic two years after the crisis began- and pressing for media coverage, I’m afraid a people in Flint would be in dire perilous health situations by the mass number. Some celebrities that stepped up and hit the media circuit were Cher, Diddy, Snoop Dog, Big Sean, Michael Moore and Rainbow Push Coalition. Thank you.
It took two years to bring this situation to light 2014-2016 and begin to seek justice?
Thank God, people use their celebrity for a greater good.
Todays indictments is just the beginning of the fallout. Public Service is just that. When personal service is entangled with Public Service there is an improper imbalance and that imbalance will lead to a very slippery criminal slope. This was/is the case with the Flint Michigan’s water crisis and all those who were egregiously involved.
Who does this?!
I pray and hope for all the best to Flint Michigan and all its 99,700 plus residents.
https://chatmanlewisflaggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/logo_v4_kameron-300x47.png00Bridgette C. Lewishttps://chatmanlewisflaggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/logo_v4_kameron-300x47.pngBridgette C. Lewis2016-04-20 16:21:162016-04-20 16:21:16Who does this? - Flint Michigan Water Crisis
When I was a little girl growing up in a home full of love surrounded by loved ones, ten siblings to be exact and a mother and father that worked hard and listened to music on Saturday’s.- I thought we were very wealthy. I had an older brother who would visit occasionally. He made a career of serving his country and would show up at home in his Military Suit. I was so proud of him. He was a little like royalty to his younger siblings. My sister was in college and working, my brother was in college and working and eventually we were all in school/college working and paying it forward. In addition to that, I thought our house was a little short of a mansion. The canisters in our kitchen were pretty, our furniture was traditionally stately, nice and comfortable, our holiday celebrations were larger than life, we had a station wagon, my dad owned (an older Cadillac- wings and all) and our house was ALWAYS clean. I remember my dad submitting the last house payment to Ms. Teddy ( as he was unable to secure a bank loan to live on 16th street- most blacks that lived in Maywood lived with the Jews between 10th avenue and 14th street) when I was in the eighth grade. I was in the kitchen and my Mom smiled one of her finest and biggest and kissed my dad. He sat in a chair at the kitchen table as though he were in disbelief holding the deed to our home. I could only imagine (with ten kids) he never thought he’d see the day.
Our house was super small but it was ours! Our home was built as a Garlow (part of history in the Chicagoland area- a garage turned into a single story bungalow). I grew up in Maywood, Illinois- born in that very house. Delivered at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, first baby of the New Year and my mother heard her doctor say (after just given birth to a beautiful child), ‘just another nigger’. Yet she smiled for the newspapers and held me as though she had given birth to a real live princess. There I was in the newspaper as the first baby born in the Chicagoland area. My mother seemed excited, I know I was! Hello World. I was the last of my siblings birthed from my mother #10. Five girls and five boys…whew… In hindsight, I guess we were wealthy in so many ways (maybe not monetarily). All of our needs and some of our wants were met. We got to see true love in action every day. I have another sister and a brother of my father’s blessings. I guess that means there are six brothers and six sisters in all. Talk about rounding out the numbers! None the less, I love all my brothers and sisters and I know for sure, My Mom and Dad were truly in love. They danced together and always looked at each other adoringly and made an amazing team. In this very small ranch style home (garlow), I had come to know God, love, diversity, how to dress and articulate properly and how to speak ‘our’ unique language (known today as Ebonics). I am perfectly proficient in commanding the King James Version of the English language as well as my native tongue, famously coined ‘Ebonics’. Oh the fun we had and still have.
My early childhood fascinations was with the beauty of my three older sisters. One was brown skinned and had the most beautiful skin, facial features and legs. My next to the oldest sister was a Carmel complexion with the most amazing big brown eyes and wavy hair. My third oldest sister looks like she is Puerto Rican. She is super fashion conscious, pretty with hazelish green eyes and has a very sharp tongue. My sister that is closest to me in age was super tall, long hair very peaceful and pretty- all the neighborhood boys liked her. I was fascinated by them because I found a little piece of me in all of them.
My brothers are smart, musically inclined. They are hardworking and only two are married. One of my brothers is really funny he too resembles a Puerto Rican with eyes that change from Green to Hazel brown in an instant, and a super clean freak. I have an autistic brother who is chocolate brown with chiseled features that would put a Hollywood movie star to shame, I have Carmel brown skinned brothers that are smooth and cool, hardworking, college educated, have served our country, good chefs and interior designers. One of my brothers was also Gay (he passed some years ago). Think that’s diverse? Our hair: Our hair textures vary from very long course tightly curled coif to wavy hair that has never seen a perm. Thin hair that would fall out if a perm got near it and hair that looks as though it would be hard to the touch but is very soft, like nice combed cotton. As for me I can wear a permed style or wash and go (natural curl that definitely needs product!). It’s all good, because we can wear so many different hairstyles and we’ve always liked that!
Of all my siblings, I was and am (to a certain degree) probably the most stubborn, strong willed, hardworking, tom-boy with the tenacity of a pit-bull. Not your typical baby of the family. Growing up, I was equally fascinated with God, music, dancing and creating/writing poems, school and studying history. More specifically ‘Black History’. I have never understood my fascinations or obsessions with such subject matter until now.
I have always known God, family, community and who I was (conceptually and profoundly) and who I was to become- even after hearing that my mother’s doctor called me, ‘just another nigger’. Was he serious? Me, just another nigger? Hardly. I don’t think he was a very bright man even as a Doctor of OBGyn. Now, I am certain of my unique identity and my purpose in life and my heart rejoices with new song and new speak. My musicality is no mistake either, rhythm is in my bones and my dance is a rhythmic culmination of a desire to express my innermost emotion and passion with a sassy release. I’ve always taken a stance for what is right and will take a stand for others. I have taken on Giants that have discriminated against me and others without regret. I’ve fiercely fought for policy change and creating paths of access where resources are scarce and limited. Humanity is in my bones right down to the marrow and I love hard and make no apologies in doing so.
What I am absolutely grateful for is my family’s fortitude and determination to make something of ourselves no matter the obstacles and odds- and there were and are plenty still. Knowing who my people are makes me feel good and my soul shouts a joyous melody despite the ugliness of hate, contention and restlessness in this world.
I am part African, Native American, Swedish and English. My paternal grandparents were both three quarters Cherokee Indian, part African and a small part English. My Maternal grandparents were African and Swedish and a small part Native American. We are from the Mississippi Delta. I am African-American as it relates to my definitive American defined ethnicity. But really, I know who I am and I always have. I am proud of my entire family!
OUR Short History and Musicality…
As slaves we were a musically inclined family. Oh yes, we were field hands SLAVES (don’t get anything twisted here) yet we were summoned as the fiddle players, dancers and singers in the Big House and at various other festivals about town. Great grandfather Henderson Chatmon (born around 1850) was taught how to play the fiddle by a white handler Robert Lacey and the children were mostly self-taught and trained by watching and by ear. After slavery, we made our way to own land and handle cotton crops, have a chicken and produce farm and a restaurant believe it or not. We were not wealthy by American standards at that time. However, we were an entrepreneurial family that knew how to survive.
My grandmother Vienna Chatman made the BEST Root beer Soda and pecan pies on the Planet! I can still taste the sweet pecans in the pies… and the suds on the root beer was something to behold and indulge. I didn’t know my grandfather, he passed away before I was born. He seemed to be well liked and boy was he handsome- his nick name was ‘touch’. Granddaddy Touch used to hum tunes (as I’ve been told by my father) and whistle tunes to melodic perfection. As such, so did my dad. He had a beautiful voice and would sing especially at Christmas time. He would sing Christmas Carols to us kids and have us all mesmerized, hanging on every note as our Christmas tree glistened in the backdrop… and yes he was very handsome. I always wanted to marry a man who looked like my dad, worked like my dad, and had that classic swag like my dad and kiss me on my cheek ever so gentle like my dad. My mother would prepare three meals every day for our family and expected everyone to eat at the same time (that’s right, all 10 kids at home). She loved her family and was crazy about all her children. Folks from everywhere used to visit our home, it was a warm place where there was always plenty of food and nice music playing when she entertained. My mom, Maebell was born Mary and changed her entire name when she married my dad. I suppose a new beginning for her. She taught us how to dance and how to be refined in our presentation. She would say, ‘when you do anything, make sure you are neat, clean, tidy and presentable’. That statement was meant for most everything we engaged- to include but not limited to- cooking, listening to music or dancing. And she meant it. If she caught one of us out of line singing inappropriate song, she’d probably pop us in the mouth. If she caught one of us moving/dancing provocatively, she’d brush up against you with an elbow- nothing had to be said, ever. Decorum was in our pedigree.
My great grandfather, Henderson Chatmon (yes, Chatmon not Chatman- long story tell you later) was a field hand married to my Great Grandmother Eliza. He used to remark, the slave master- ‘Old Man Chatmon was alright to my kids and Liza’. Henderson had plenty of whelp marks on his back from the flogging hands of the overseer on the plantation. My dad used to tell us stories of his grandfather being an old man and having to bath him. He would ask grandfather what happened to his back. He always received a short story, ‘Slavery son, slavery.’
Many of Henderson’s children were undistinguishable from white children. Henderson tended cotton crops and was fairly successful in those days. He was also rumored to be a bit of a philanderer. All in all the children such as my great Uncle’s Bo, Sam, Charley and Bunchie went on to define BLUES in the South! My Great-grandfather’s “outside son” son Charley Patton is revered in the South and inspired the likes of Muddy Waters and B.B. King. My Uncle Sam Chatmon is an amazing figure in Pop Blues Culture. Artists like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard and Dean Martin have all re-recorded our family songs- One in particular, ‘Corrina Corrina’.
I have worked tirelessly on a documentary and a non-fiction book that tells the story of The Real African American Experience as told by the generations of many Souls. If you look at the media- ‘Us’ Black Folks are depicted as unattractive, lazy criminals. I know better. This is the reason, I’ve decided to set the record straight. This Documentary and Non-Fiction Book is one of my best works …ever. It is dignified, inspiring, beautiful and authentic to the extent it touches the SOUL as told by ‘The Souls of Many’. This is just a bit of my story that I share with you today as I know it.
These are my people….
Psss… Many men in our family changed the Chatmon name to Chatman- especially after their service in the World War. My Dad said goodbye to the slave name while he served in the Airforce and was elated to have changed the name to Chatman. He left the air force as a new man in many ways. Thus, I am a Chatmon and Chatman.
‘Corrina Corrina’- Sam Chatmon
‘I’ve got the whole world in my hands’- Bo Carter Bo Chatman (Armenter Chatmon)
Stay tuned for the complete book and documentary 2016/2017
I hope you enjoy.
All the best,
https://chatmanlewisflaggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/logo_v4_kameron-300x47.png00Bridgette C. Lewishttps://chatmanlewisflaggs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/logo_v4_kameron-300x47.pngBridgette C. Lewis2016-04-08 20:21:472016-04-08 20:21:47'The Souls of Many' - Documentary and Non-Fiction Book