By Raymond Arke | The Duquesne Duke
A Duquesne student organization is trying to help a city in crisis.
The Duquesne chapter of the Collegiate 100 is holding an online fundraiser to raise money for water bottles for Flint, Michigan.
Flint has recently been in the news after residents found dangerously high levels of lead in the city’s water. Charity groups have stepped in to provide potable water as the city struggles to find a permanent solution.
As of March 16, the group’s online GoFundMe account raised $515 of the $1,000 goal. The money will be donated to the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, a church that has been one of the leaders in collecting clean water for residents.
Don Crawford, a sophomore at Duquesne and one of the student leaders of Collegiate 100, is in charge of the fundraising effort. The Collegiate 100 is a nation-wide organization that seeks to empower young black men. Crawford describes the organization as, “committed to service and empowering the urban communities of Pittsburgh … through mentoring and raising awareness of social justice.”
The 30-member Duquesne chapter decided to raise money for Flint because the small Rust Belt town has a large African-American population, which is the demographic the Collegiate 100 focuses on. According to the most recent U.S. Census, Flint has the eighth-largest African-American population in the United States. Activists from Black Lives Matter, along with both Democratic presidential candidates and the NAACP, allege that systematic racism played a role in the city’s struggles.
“We recognized the injustice that was taking place, and felt that it is now time to serve the people of Flint,” Crawford said.
Complaints about the city’s water supply date back to 2014, but little government action was taken to correct the problem. Many residents and national figures have called for the Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to resign, while President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency in January for the Flint region.
Crawford hopes that donations will continue to roll in, and has a message for the Duquesne community.
“We ask that you continue to keep the people of Flint in your hearts and prayers as they continue to work past this injustice.”
Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/c100waterdrive.