AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

AMA Journal of Ethics. October 2017, Volume 19, Number 10: 1036-1042.
doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.10.imhl1-1710.

Images of Healing and Learning

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Waterborne

Seven photographs taken in Flint, Michigan, in the aftermath of the water crisis illuminate environmental injustice and the city’s attempt to remediate it.

Images and captions by Kwesi Reynolds

Abstract

These photos capture the Flint water crisis from the perspective of a photographer and cinematographer who is a resident of Flint. They represent citizens’ struggles, town hall meetings, and some of the city’s repair efforts. They also illuminate environmental injustice as a violation of human rights.

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Figure 1. Corrosion of Trust. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

After talking with a Flint resident and learning he had just completed some home renovations, I was invited to take a look at some of his home’s plumbing.

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Figure 2. Portentious Vote. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

At this Flint City Council meeting on March 25, 2013, the council heard comments from the public and voted to change its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Karegnondi Water Authority.

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Figure 3. Signs of Change. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

“Water Line Replacement Work Area” signs are scattered all throughout the city. Work crews dig up old pipes and replace them with new ones, which began in March 2016.

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Figure 4. Can Do: Water for Washing. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

“Please Use This Water” sign found in a local public restroom instructing people to use canned water to wash their hands.

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Figure 5. Greetings from Flint. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

This “Greetings from Flint” mural is found on Saginaw Street. Inside the letters are images that resonate with many people in the city following the water crisis. The artwork is part of a mural project by unspecified artists.

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Figure 6. Watered Down Rights. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

This use of image and words highlights the overarching issue of environmental injustice and citizens’ right to safe water.

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Figure 7. Waterborne. Photo: Kwesi Reynolds.
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Caption

The words “human rights” on a pregnant woman’s stomach represent unborn Flint residents with no voice, whose human rights are being neglected.



Kwesi Reynolds was born in Detroit and raised in Flint, Michigan, where he attended Flint Central High School. After graduating from high school and spending four years in the US Navy, he moved back to Michigan to pursue his education. He graduated with honors from Mott Community College and received a bachelor’s degree in film from Wayne State University. He now lives and works in both Flint and Detroit and looks forward to bringing a major motion picture to the city of Flint.

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.