The Flint Coalition is a wide array of private, charitable, business and community entities and citizens who agree and advocate for the five points below noted. We are asking the State of Michigan and the Federal Government to take responsibility for healing Flint within the following parameters.
The Flint Coalition is a nonpartisan and nonprofit 501c4 organization that engages in advocacy on issues including legislation to improve the environment, protect natural resources, stimulate the economy and engage in research and the publication of positions of elected officials and legislative policy concerning the Flint Metropolitan Area.
The Flint Coalition will educate, inform and provide a community forum to the Flint Metropolitan community that will equip, engage and create leaders through advocacy, lobbying, and other community engagement tools which will empower the Flint Metropolitan residents to actively engage the political process in a meaningful manner.
The Flint Coalition Guiding Principles
The Flint Coalition is a “think-and-do” lobbying and advocacy nonprofit organization whose objective is to make the Flint Metro area a better place by encouraging greater understanding and involvement in policy issues among the citizens and making sure their voices are regularly heard. We do this by regularly by calling forth citizen views, amplifying those views and projecting them into the halls of power.
The work of the Flint Coalition can be described in only three verbs – engage, inform and achieve – which work together to make up a dynamic model of social, political and economic change.
We believe the local and state political system has in large part failed to live up to its promise because of excessive politics and the outsized influence of powerful single-interest political, financial and private economic groups at the state and local levels of governance. A result has been that many ordinary citizens in Flint and other urban cities feel left out in the cold by our current state of politics. To remedy these problems, The Flint Coalition will work diligently with the grassroots individuals and groups to empower citizens to express and implement their views through our interactive, small-group community conversations and other public engagement tools that will provide opportunities for thousands of Flint and Michigan citizens each year to better understand public policy issues, discuss them with fellow citizens and develop common ground positions. Through this process of bottom-up “deliberative democracy”, The Flint Coalition will work collaboratively to set its policy priorities and work in order to enhance a more meaningful citizen participation in a democracy. To assure statistical rigor and legitimacy of our policy positions, we are careful to make sure the demography of our participants – in gender, age, race and geographical location – matches the diversity of the Flint Metro population.
We believe that an informed public is a catalyst and necessary core requisite for a democratic society. Unfortunately, an information gap has opened up between our citizens and our leaders. The Flint Coalition will strive to provide independent, balanced, thoughtful and high-quality advocacy, thereby earning the trust of the citizens of the Flint Metro area who has a vital stake in our city and the future viability of the state. We will work collaboratively with various all people and all groups regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law. By doing so, we will adhere to our belief in every person’s intrinsic and unalienable human value and their right to life, liberty, and justice.
We want to put thoughts into action. We call forth citizen voices through our public lobbying and advocacy work. We will inform the citizens, and nourish and amplify citizen views through our open community forums, actionable research projects which benefit the community and strengthen our policy positions, and also through the lobbying efforts that the Flint Coalition will take directly to the halls of policy at the local, State and National levels of governance. These efforts and implementations of advocacy will result in thelegitimate expressions of citizen attitudes whose collective purpose is to change the political culture of the Flint Metro area by empowering the citizens to effect change for themselves and their community.
Our 4 Point Plan of Action
1. The pipes throughout the city of Flint must be changed.
2. We urge Congress to pass a Bill which appropriates at least $800 million to Flint, Michigan for the purpose of infrastructure repairs, which includes repairing and/or replacement of public and private water service lines, as well as corrosion control programs to optimization public and/or private water service lines.
3. An independent external auditor is needed to monitor the influx of government capital to ensure it reaches the citizens.
4. A maximum amount of funds should be kept in the City of Flint and the Greater Flint area so that labor and contracts keep the money in Flint.
The city of Flint, Michigan, has declared a state of emergency over contaminated water supply. The Flint authorities had switched the public water supply in April 2014 from Lake Huron to the Flint river. The river flows through the city but had not been used for consumption since the early 1960s because of industrial pollution.
After the switch, many residents immediately reported that the water coming out of their taps was yellowy, cloudy and odorous. People reported suddenly breaking out in rashes or losing their hair.
Public protests followed, but the authorities repeatedly said the water was safe, despite stepping up water treatment and occasionally issuing advice to residents to boil it.
Experts at Virginia Tech university, called in by activists, had already issued an alarming report about lead levels in the river water, while a pediatrician at Flint’s Hurley Medical Center hospital, Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, had discovered elevated levels of lead in blood tests carried out on local children.
Lead in the environment is particularly dangerous to young children, whose fast-developing brains are prone to damage that often does not show up until years later, in the form of learning disabilities or behavioral problems.
Board of Directors
Dr. Jawad Shah
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Shah studied at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Manitoba prior to completing medical school at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada where he was also raised. He began PhD work in Psychoneuroimmunology prior to embarking on specialty training in Neurosurgery. He completed sub-specialty fellowship training in skull base neurosurgery at the University of Arkansas. His areas of specialty include brain stem surgery, vascular neurosurgery, brain tumors, complex spine and neuromodulation. He currently practices at McLaren, Hurley and Genesys Hospitals.
He is involved in extensive research projects including clinical, patent work, biological/mechanical and electrical product development, industry sponsored studies, theoretical philosophy among other areas. He is a faculty member at the Michigan State University Medical School. He also is Co Director of the Center for Cognition and Neuroethics jointly administered by the University of Michigan and IINN.
Dr. Shah settled down in Flint, MI with his wife, a native of Flint, and children in the fall of 2003. When he is not working; he is constantly thinking of ways to make better the community. He also enjoys snowboarding, fishing, scuba diving, traveling, and reading.
Anthony D. Turner CGW
Development Director, Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village
Anthony D. Turner has a lifetime of experiences in the fields of government, Nonprofit management, Organizational Development, Board Development, Program development, for-profit and non-profit entities, community, politics, and community service which has prepared him to deal effectively with the various issues that plague our communities. He brings a no- nonsense, direct approach to solving problems, transparency and accountability to the process, and is keenly focused on accomplishing the objectives. He believes that the solution to the issues is not in individual initiatives but in the collective ability of the "Team" to catalyze around the objectives and goals at hand. Mr. Turner has served on Federal, State, County and township level committees and has been involved with economic and educational development in his community. Additionally, Mr. Turner has served his Country ‘Honorably’ in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. He is the husband of 27 years to Dollene R. Turner M.P.A. and is the proud father of 4 children.
Chief Lobbying Agent & Director of Education and Research
Bobbie Walton was born in Tennessee, but raised in Chicago. She is the eldest of four children, her parents was a piano player and a kindergarten teacher. Bobbie is married, a mother of three children and step-mother of two.
She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (1978) and a Master of Arts degree (1981) in Government from Sam Houston State University in Texas. Her primary focus of study and research was on public administration and environmental policy.
Bobbie began her professional career with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. She moved to Louisiana to become an income tax auditor and learn about tax law. She worked for the I.R.S. for five years in Lafayette, LA, Nashville, TN and Washington D.C. where she moved from auditing returns to office automation.
After leaving the I.R.S. in 1986, Bobbie found many opportunities to work with government. She worked as a technical consultant and technical writer on government projects with Hay Systems. In addition she lobbied for ethical government, analyzed and wrote about automotive safety regulation, and was chief-of-staff in the legislative offices of a member of the county council in Montgomery County, MD.
She was owner of three small businesses in the D.C. area. Each was directly related to the delivery of government service. She wrote and edited a newsletter on truck safety, provided technical support to a contractor for a project at the White House, worked on a computer security risk analysis for the Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, and wrote proposals for a government contractor.
One small business she co-founded with her husband is still in operation. The Automotive Manufacturers’ Equipment Compliance Agency, which is an agent of state governments, overseeing compliance with safety standards for automotive safety equipment. They sold the business when they relocated to Michigan.
"I want my community to thrive!" Bobbie stated, and true to that statement, she has served and continue to serve on several boards and committees. Bobbie has spent many volunteer hours working with victims of domestic violence, mentoring youngsters, and developing after-school programs to prevent crime. She helped in the development of the Family Justice Center, a one-stop shop for victims of family violence, in Montgomery County, MD. In Michigan, she has served as president and on the board of Michigan NOW (National Organization for Women) and worked with others in Michigan to organize CAGO (Citizens Against Government Overreach). CAGO works to bring individuals into closer contact with their government, showing them how to communicate effectively and make change possible. Bobbie currently is a member of the Genesee County Land Bank Citizens Board of Advisors, and the Genesee County Animal Control Advisory Committee. She belongs to the Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force, and the League of Women Voters.
Dr. Birdis J. Shields, PhD
Director of Inter-Faith Relations
Birdis J. Shields, PhD was born on June 27th, 1955 in Rison, Arkansas. He is the eldest son of Missionary Naomi Jean Shields and Supt. Emeritus Birdie L. Shields.
Dr. Birdis J. Shields holds several earned degrees: Dr. Birdis J. Shields graduated from ITT Technical Institute with honors. He has an earned Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education, Ph.D in theology and many other degrees, awards and accolades. Supt. Birdis J. Shields is married to Cheryl D. Shields, RN. He is the father of 3 children Antwan T. Shields, Dion R. Shields and Janel Y. Shields, and 9 Grandchildren.
On December 2, 1978 he accepted the call from God to preach the gospel and became a licensed Minister in the Church of God in Christ. He served in many areas of leadership in his local church. As minister of music he helped develop the choir into one of the leading choirs in the area. As the Youth Minister he received many accolades and awards for his excellent leadership skills and abilities to attract youth to Christ.
Dr. Birdis J Shields became a minister in Desember 1978. March 25, 1984 he was ordained an elder in Church of God in Christ by the late Bishop John Seth Bailey. On January, 1991 he was appointed District Youth President of the United District Church of God in Church by Supt. T.J. Monroe. On January 9, 1993 he was appointed as the Jurisdictional Vice President of the Youth Department for Southwest Michigan # 1 Churches of God in Christ by Bishop John H. Sheard. On August 27, 1994 he was promoted to President of the Jurisdictional Department Evangelism for Southwest Michigan Church of God in Christ by Bishop John H. Sheard and served faithfully for 17yrs (8/27/1994 – 3/16/2012).On May 1, 2006 he retired from General Motors after 30.5 yrs. of faithful service. January 2009 he founded the New Resurrection Church Bible Institute. On April 30, 2011 3:30 at the Greater Friendship Azusa Ministries COGIC he was installed as Senior Pastor of the Greater Friendship Azusa Ministries COGIC. After a year as Pastor of the GFA Ministries COGIC, Bishop John H. Sheard approved the recommendation from the pastors and members of the Upper Room District and he was promoted to Supt. of the Upper Room District for Southwest Michigan Jurisdiction #1 Church of God in Christ April 20, 2012. On December 8, 2012 he was elected by majority vote president of the Genesee County COGIC Alliance.
Supt. Birdis J. Shields has established positive changes both finically and spiritually within local church and the community. Under Dr. Shields leadership the church has enlarged its territory by purchasing 16.5 acres. We are now the proud owners of 48.5 acres, and Blue prints are in complete to build a senior citizen assisted living which is a “one stop housing facility”. The construction is expected to begin on or before 2017. As a result of the leadership of Supt. Birdis J. Shields the members of Greater Friendship Azusa has increased and the local community are spiritually motivated and highly anticipate the a much better day. He has been a member of GFA for 47 yrs. 2015 he celebrates 4yrs as senior pastor of the Greater Friendship Azusa Ministries. Birdis J. Shields severed 2 yrs as president of the GCCA and resigned December 2014. On December 7th 2015 he celebrates 37 yrs in ministry.