Flint water activist Melissa Mays holding out for more court settlements

More than 4 years and countless hearings later, a historic settlement has been reached with the state. Melissa Mays is reminding her community this is just the beginning.
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (8/21/20) - “I mean, it’s hell here; but again, I think, the residents of Flint are just forged from fire because they don’t give up,” Melissa Mays said,

She was one of the first to bring a lawsuit for the damage the water crisis caused to her family.

Now, more than 4 years and countless hearings later, a historic settlement has been reached.

It’s a story ABC12 News has continued to develop over the last 3 days. We first told you Wednesday, the state is agreeing to pay $600-million to the people of Flint for damages caused by the Flint water crisis.

Mays is grateful for the settlement, but wants to remind her community, this is just the beginning.

Like the state and attorneys, she's hopeful other entities, like McLaren Hospital, the City of Flint, the engineers and other private companies will agree to settle, too.

“It’s something, it’s a first piece and I can only hope that the other defendants see the wisdom in let’s ending this and do what’s right by different residents, instead of what’s right by their pocketbooks,” she said. “Because if they had done right to begin with, we wouldn’t be here.”

Mays looks at the settlement as the state admitting fault. A welcomed acknowledgement for the mother of three who first filed a lawsuit against the state and its employees in January 2016.

She’s been heavily involved in the process over the last 4.5 years for a reason.

Mays explained, “I think it’s important that the judges actually see our faces, you know; because, it’s not just numbers on a piece of paper, it’s not just this abstract, we’re human beings. And, we deserve to be safe in our homes, and we deserve justice, in all forms.”

Over the next 45 days, as the terms of the settlement continue to be negotiated, Mays is fighting for the state to agree that none of the money received will be tabulated in a person’s income or assets. That way, she said, they won’t lose needed benefits like food stamps or housing vouchers.

“It’s not gonna be enough money to make anybody rich by any means; but it’s going to be just enough to knock people off their benefits, if this protective clauses isn’t put in,” she said.

With now 16, 17, and 22-year-old boys, Mays said whatever the amount, it will help pay off their mounting medical and property repair bills and take care of tutoring needs.

“It’s been an upheaval in all aspects of life for me; and then, most people are like me,” Mays said. “Their houses are destroyed, their bodies are destroyed, their emotions, their mental health, their ability to learn, remember, retain.”

If you’d like to join the settlement, call (866) 536-0717 or click here.

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