She may be best known for a letter she wrote to President Obama in spring 2016, which helped spur his decision to visit Flint in person. “Even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people’s spirits,” Mari wrote.
President Obama responded to Mari’s letter with a promise to visit the following week and added, “Like you, I’ll use my voice to call for change and help lift up your community.”
In the past few months, Flint has begun to fade from the public eye. The water in Flint has now been contaminated for two and a half years. Federal aid funding to fix the issue has been approved by the United States Senate, but the progress toward clean water is slow going. Because the lead contamination in the water was coming from the pipes themselves, all the affected pipes in the city need to be changed before the water can be declared safe.
In Mari’s house, the family is still using bottled water to cook, drink, and brush their teeth.
“Sometimes kids can be the ones that end up making a change,” Mari insists. “Just because we are kids doesn't mean that we can't change the world.”
In many ways, Mari is just a normal 9-year-old kid: She likes to draw cartoons, read, and ride her bike. But until the water in Flint is 100% safe, she intends to continue fighting for justice in Flint.
She explains, “My favorite thing about being Little Miss Flint is being able to be a voice for the kids here in Flint and getting to meet and make new friends.”
What’s the one thing Mari wants to tell the whole country? “That the Flint water crisis is far from over, so please don't forget about Flint. And to the kids, remember that one kid can change the world!”