Problem: Larger societal forces created a narrative about Flint’s water emergency that cast African American Flint community members primarily as victims, underplaying their extensive efforts toward solutions. This narrative exacerbates, rather than ameliorates, the emergency’s root cause: disregard for their perspectives.

Purpose: This article describes 1) the largely unsung efforts of African American community members to identify and resolve the emergency, and 2) the development of the Narrative Group as a way to document community perspectives and promote change through equitable inclusion of community in decision making.

Key Points: To maximize public health benefit, Flint community members are asking public health professionals to partner with them in ways that 1) attribute credit equitably and ethically, 2) engage community priorities and solutions, 3) share data, expertise, and information, and 4) equitably allocate philanthropic and public funds for related research and services.

Conclusions: Response effort processes are as important for long-term health outcomes as response effort content.


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pp. 215-221
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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