The Kids on Mary Drive

Education, poverty, Flint, and the water crisis. 

January 24, 2016
Dear Mayor Weaver,
When I saw the map in the New York Times this week, I felt compelled to find out where I had lived from birth to five. I knew that I had lived in a trailer park near Dort Highway and that I had lived on Mary Drive (yes, the little street in our trailer park was named after me and it still bears the same name. The trailer park had changed owners just as I was arriving on this planet and the owner had three streets to name. Completely by chance, he only had two daughters. Timing is everything: a lesson learned on day one, literally.)
Well, I found it and it is in the 61% zone - the highest density of polluted water - most likely the poorest part of Flint. 
I escaped - and moved from deep urban trailer-park poverty to an isolated, newly built, working-class subdivision in a small town 20 minutes from Flint - too small and rural to be called a suburb. And from there, to East Lansing, Michigan State, and a BS in Psychology.
In 1989 I moved to Boston and I've never looked back. 
I've felt immense and overwhelming guilt at "getting out" but I've never looked back. I've felt lucky, very lucky. I still feel lucky and grateful and relieved that my 10 year old son didn't grow up drinking Flint water and with that relief comes even more guilt. I try to assuage my guilt by giving my time, energy, and charitable donations to my Roxbury neighborhood in Boston but I have never given to Flint. 
I think it's time for me to look back. 
I think it's time for me to do something for the kids on Mary Drive. 
Can we talk?
Mary Churchill


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