This New Photo of Little Miss Flint Is a Striking Reminder of How Long the Water Crisis Has Gone On

A young girl's photo is drawing attention to the water crisis affecting Flint, MI — and it isn't the first time. Mari Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint, made national news in 2016 after she wrote a letter urging President Barack Obama to visit the city and take action. Later that year, Copeny shared a photo of herself holding up a sign that indicated the city had gone without safe tap water since 2014. Now, the 11-year-old activist has done it again.

"Five years," Copeny wrote alongside a photo of herself holding up a variation of the same sign. "Flint, Michigan has been without safe tap drinkable water for FIVE YEARS." Copeny went on to share the two photos side by side to really illustrate how much time has passed and how the crisis has not yet been solved.

The water crisis began when the city's main water supply was changed from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River in an effort to save money. Unfortunately, the water was not properly treated, and local residents were exposed to high, unsafe levels of lead. A state of emergency was declared in early 2016, and state officials were ordered to provide residents with bottled water until lead pipes were replaced by 2020. Then, in 2018, Governor Rick Snyder ended the free bottled water program after lead levels fell below the federal limit — even though many pipes still need to be replaced.

Following the termination of the program, Copeny took matters into her own hands with a GoFundMe campaign raising money to continue providing residents with bottled water. The campaign equates every dollar raised with 11 bottles of water. At press time, $252,840 has been raised.