I am happy to start my Must Read Monday series on my blog!
I am a health sciences librarian who is grateful to be apart of our faculty book club that was started between our Libray staff and our Student Affairs staff. The book that I want to recommend was the first book that we read.
The first book that I urge everyone to read is What the Eyes Don’t See: a Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. I know before this book I thought that the water crisis in Flint Michigan was all over. It saddens and angers me that the crisis is still not over. If you want to know how Dr. Mona was courageous and relentless in the pursuit of making sure that awareness was brought to the water crisis in Flint then you should read this book. Even when her character was called into question, she still persisted in making sure the truth was told.
Dr. Mona is an Iraqi refugee that is currently a pediatrician, a scientist, and a health justice advocate. The book goes step by step on how she was able to prove that the local government went to great lengths to keep the lead in water crisis under wraps. You will see how even when the truth was laid out in front of the world that exceptions were made in regards to the consummation of lead. Government agencies were trying to give a “safe range” to the level of lead that a person can consume when there should not be a number range. Any amount of lead in the human body is dangerous.
A powerful quote by Dr. Mona, “Flint falls into the American narrative of cheapening black life. White America may not have seen the common thread between Flint history and these tragedies, but black America saw it immediately. That the blood of African American children was unnecessarily and callously laced with lead speaks in the same rhythm as Black Lives Matter, a movement also born from the blood of innocent African Americans…”(Hanna-Attisha, 2018, p.308). Dr. Mona kept her focus on the kids of Flint because she knew the battle would be long and tough.
Lastly, In my opinion, Dr. Mona speaks to the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” notion that many in America stand on which personally annoys me since that just makes it seem like we are all on equal footing. Dr. Mona states, “My family came to the United States basically as refugees fleeing oppression, in search of a peaceful and prosperous place for my brother and me to grow up. The American Dream worked for us…, I realized that America has changed a lot since I was a little girl. Yes, people are still running to America, or at least trying to. It remains the epitome of prosperity for the entire world, the richest country that ever was. But there really are two Americas, aren’t there? The America I was lucky to grow up in, and the other America-the one I see in my clinic every day”(Hanna-Attisha, 2018, p. 323).
Please let me know your thoughts on the book. Let us not forget about Flint who is currently suffering from lead in their water. We must continue to apply pressure to those in elected office to continue replacing the pipes in Flint. The kids in Flint will be affected by the lead in their water for many years to come. Donate to Flint Kids Fund