Black History: Special Delivery!!
Jassmine McBride (1988 – 2018) died on February 12, 2019, of Legionnaires disease. She contracted the lung disease due to using contaminated water in her hometown of Flint, MI. She was only 30 years of age. She was diagnosed with Legionnaires disease in 2014. The total number of Flint residents who have died from Legionnaires disease due to the Flint Water Crisis stands at 13. A total of 90 individuals have been diagnosed with the disease so far.
McBride learned that she had contracted the disease on a routine doctors visit in August 2014. She was 26 years old at the time. The disease began to damage her lungs and severely limited her oxygen intake. Before contracting Legionnaires’, McBride was a vibrant young woman, leading a full life. The disease is left her homebound and dependent on an oxygen tank to help her breath.
Interviewed in May 2018, McBride reflected on the fact that no trials had commenced bringing justice to the residents of Flint. She had this to say to those responsible,
“You messed up someone’s future. You interfered with someone who wanted to help people, and you have innocent children who won’t even be able to experience life. There is hatred, and I’m upset because it’s somebody’s life they took. I want to take their life and put them in my shoes to see what I’m going through”.
As recent as October 2018, there were published reports that her condition was worsening. It was reported that she now had “lesions on her face and neck…and she can barely walk without crutches. She wonders if she will ever lead a normal life.”
We cannot forget that the poisoning of Flint residents prioritized profits over people. Use of a newly privatized water authority, Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) changed Flint’s water source. Water contamination resulted because corrosion control chemicals were not used appropriately. The toxic, untreated water resulted in lead poisoning and significant increases in Legionnaires’ disease. The water in Flint still contains bacteria and unknown chemicals. It’s been five years and many issues still remain unaddressed. In fact, former Michigan governor, Rick Snyder, and other officials did not acknowledge the outbreak of Legionnaires until January 2016. If residents had been properly warned illness and death could have been prevented. The cover-up has resulted in a loss of life and the crisis continues.
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