President Obama will make his long-awaited visit to Flint, Michigan to discuss the community’s water crisis next week, following a request from 8-year-old activist Mari Copeny, a.k.a Little Miss Flint.

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In her letter, penned before she traveled to Washington, D.C. in March for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Copeny wrote:

Mr. President,

Hello my name is Mari Copeny and I’m 8 years old, I live in Flint, Michigan and I’m more commonly known around town as “Little Miss Flint”. I am one of the children that is effected by this water, and I’ve been doing my best to march in protest and to speak out for all the kids that live here in Flint. This Thursday I will be riding a bus to Washington, D.C. to watch the congressional hearings of our Governor Rick Snyder. I know this is probably an odd request but I would love for a chance to meet you or your wife. My mom said chances are you will be too busy with more important things, but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people’s spirits. Thank you for all that do for our country. I look forward to being able to come to Washington and to be able to see Gov. Snyder in person and to be able to be in the city where you live.

Obama accepted the invitation on Monday, via a blog post on Medium:

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Dear Mari:

Thank you for writing to me. You’re right that Presidents are often busy, but the truth is, in America, there is no more important title than citizen. And I am so proud of you for using your voice to speak out on behalf of the children of Flint.

That’s why I want you to be the first to know that I’m coming to visit Flint on May 4th. I want to make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve. Like you, I’ll use my voice to call for change and help lift up your community.

Letters from kids like you are what make me so optimistic for the future. I hope to meet you next week, “Little Miss Flint.”

Sincerely,
Barack Obama

According to the Washington Post:

Many people in Flint were disappointed when Obama did not visit the city when he attended the Detroit Auto Show, which is barely an hour away, in January. Brezzell said in addition to being proud of her daughter, she hopes the president’s upcoming visit can begin to heal the anger and distrust of government that are so prevalent in the beleaguered city.

“People here tend to feel like they’ve been forgotten, like our lives don’t matter to the people in government—to the people in power—because so little has been done to fix the actual problem,” Copeny’s mother, LuLu Brezzell, said in an interview. “With him coming here, it will give people the idea that he does care, that the Commander-in-Chief does care about the lives of people here.”

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On her daughter, Brezzell says, “We’ve always taught her to stand up for what she believes in and to use her voice.”

On April 20, prosecutors announced plans to indict multiple Michigan government officials on misdemeanor and felony charges for their roles in Flint’s water contamination.


Image via the AP.