Read Experts of Color Letter on Flint Water Crisis

Originally published by the Center for Global Policy Solutions

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The Honorable Rick Snyder
State of Michigan
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909
As a coalition of more than 200 experts who are focused on building wealth for communities of color, we believe that it is vital for all public leaders in the U.S. to commit to advancing an inclusive democracy that fairly treats and affirms the value of all of its diverse residents. We have a number of concerns about the governance and water crisis in Flint, as well as some recommendations for remediation and change.

Our perspective is embedded in Article I of the Constitution of Michigan, which you have sworn to uphold, which states:
All power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of his civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of religion, race, color or national origin… The people have the right peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives and to petition the government for redress of grievances.[i]
Based on the criteria established by Michigan’s constitution and embedded in other state laws, it is reasonable to conclude that rights of the residents of Flint, MI have been abrogated. The people of Flint have not received equal benefit, security or protection from their government. They have been denied equal protection of the laws and seemingly discriminated against because of class and race. Their right to petition government for redress of grievances has also been obstructed.

Communities of Innovation: Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas


The local governments of Douglas County and the City of Lawrence, Kansas work collaboratively to strengthen their food system through planning and public policy. This innovative, intergovernmental partnership along the urban-rural continuum recognizes that food system challenges and thus their solutions cross jurisdictional boundaries.

Communities of Innovation: Minneapolis, Minnesota


Building on existing community food system efforts and public interest in local foods, the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota has successfully developed a broad range of food systems related policies. The municipal government and its strong non-governmental partners take a full systems approach, addressing food system areas ranging from urban agriculture to local food business, community kitchens, public markets, food retail and access, and neighborhood connections.

Communities of Innovation: Cleveland, Ohio


The City of Cleveland municipal government began advancing food policy in 1976 with support for urban agriculture, namely community gardening, which has remained the city’s key area of focus. In 2008 other food systems issues, beyond urban agriculture, began receiving unprecedented municipal government support. For example, the municipal government began linking food production policies with strong food access goals. 

Tracking Healthy Food Sales


Through a review of healthy food retailer program reports and interviews
 with program staff and experts in the field, ChangeLab Solutions has assembled a list of viable sales data tracking methods. We have assessed each method using four criteria – accuracy, cost, burden on program staff, and burden on store staff – to show each method’s strengths and weaknesses. This easy-to-use resource can help healthy retail advocates and retailers pick the best sales tracking methods for their program. 

Employee and Customer Reactions to a healthy in-store Marketing Intervention in Supermarkets


Supermarkets are a primary source of food for American households, and increased presence in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods present opportunities to increase access to healthy foods. It is important to assess store manager and customer reactions to in-store marketing interventions. This study aimed to evaluate manager and customer reactions to stealth, low-cost, sustainable in-store marketing strategies to promote healthier purchases in five product categories and gain insight into shopping habits and willingness to change behaviors.

Good. To Go. San Jose Healthy Corner Store Program Case Study


This case study profiles the Healthy Corner Store Program (HCP) developed as part of The Health Trust’s Good. To Go. (G2G) campaign, a community-based campaign aimed at increasing the purchase of produce and quality foods through a network of on-the-ground, trusted community vendors, including corner store retailers, Fresh Cart mobile produce vendors, farmers’ market managers, and urban farmers. The case study documented key efforts working with corner store retailers in San Jose over the course of two years (2013-15). 

Strategies to Close the Distribution Gap for Small Stores in Underserved Communities


In October 2015, more than 40 public health leaders and national experts in food retail, agriculture, distribution and marketing convened in Philadelphia for Healthy Food in Small Stores: Distribution Opportunities to Improve Community Health. This national conference tackled challenges and best practices for distributing healthy food to small stores across the United States. Co-hosted by The Food Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this meeting sought to build connections among experts and identify ways to overcome distribution challenges in ways that are profitable for businesses and provide better access to healthy food in stores. This report outlines the key findings, discussion themes, and other highlights from the conference. 

Harvesting Healthier Options: State Legislative Trends in Local Foods, 2012-14


This report focuses on state legislation in all 50 states enacted between 2012 and 2014 that aimed to strengthen various components of local food systems (see Table 1 on page 2). The report is organized into chapters focused on six policy areas with the most state legislative action: local food system approaches; farm to school; farmers’ markets; community gardens and urban agriculture; healthy grocery retail; and food policy councils. The report was created using NCSL bill and law searches; communication with established and new local food system contacts; analysis and synthesis of existing research and case studies; and numerous interviews with state lawmakers, state agency staff, relevant nonprofits and other stakeholders. 

Fixing Food: Fresh Solutions from Five U.S. Cities


Fixing Food presents case studies of programs from five U.S. cities that are helping residents grow and sell healthy food, training the next generation of farmers, and bringing healthy food to places where people gather.