06-19-2018  5:33 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Prosecutor: Oregon man justified in shooting near hotel

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A heavy equipment operator was legally justified when he shot and wounded a knife-wielding man last month outside an Oregon hotel, a prosecutor said Monday.However, Robert Garris was foolish to appoint himself "sheriff of the Days Inn" and initiate a confrontation with the...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDANHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed because of damage from a wildfire that scorched the area last year.The Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall Creek area near Eugene, also are...

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Spokane man convicted in 2015 deadly shooting

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane man has been convicted of killing a Moses Lake teenager during a 2015 robbery attempt.The Columbia Basin Herald reports Jeremiah Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Germany: Syrian teen on trial over anti-Semitic assault

BERLIN (AP) — A 19-year-old from Syria is on trial in Berlin over an assault in the German capital on an Israeli wearing a skullcap.The young man is charged with bodily harm and slander. The April 17 attack caused nationwide outrage and fueled concerns over anti-Semitism in Germany.German...

City where many slaves entered US to apologize for slavery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina city where almost half of all the slaves brought to the United States first set foot on American soil is ready to apologize for its role in the slave trade.The resolution expected to be passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday offers a...

ENTERTAINMENT

In 'Jurassic World,' a dino-sized animal-rights parable

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around.Since Steven Spielberg's 1993 original, the dinos of "Jurassic Park" — many of them...

Immigration detention policy becomes major issue in media

NEW YORK (AP) — In a phone conversation with her executive producer over the weekend, "CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King wondered if there wasn't more the network could do on the story of children being separated from parents through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration...

Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo share baby photo

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine spent his first Father's Day as a dad of two.Supermodel Behati Prinsloo shared a photo on Instagram of the 39-year-old holding their second daughter, Gio Grace, who was born in February. Their first daughter, Dusty Rose, is nearly 2 years...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Yemeni officials say fighting rages around Hodeida airport

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Fierce fighting raged Tuesday outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida,...

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether...

Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were...

North Korea's Kim meets with Chinese President Xi in Beijing

BEIJING (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the...

Twin brothers reunited 74 years after WWII death at Normandy

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — For decades, he was known only as Unknown X-9352 at a World War II...

France's Macron admonishes teenager; video goes viral

PARIS (AP) — A video of French President Emmanuel Macron strongly admonishing a teenager who called him by...

Howard University students deliver water to motorists as they come to The Muslim House to receive free water from the mosque. The students are part of a 45-member group of university students spending spring break in Flint to help residents who do have limited access to clean water.
Tatyana Hopkins Howard University News Service

 

FLINT, Mich. -- The First Presbyterian Church of Flint sits majestically along the historic cobblestone streets in the core of the city’s downtown area.

The grand, Gothic limestone structure with huge Tiffany stained glass windows and cavernous interior was erected in 1929 and spans a block and somehow seems to age the area’s much younger, yet dilapidated skyscrapers.

Just a few blocks away is the much, much smaller The Muslim House, a single-family home that was transformed into a mosque in 1996. It begins where the cobblestone ends, marking the end of revitalization efforts and the local college’s territory. It blends in with the surrounding homes, except for the tarp covering a leaking roof and a sign donning the mosque’s name in green.

Though the mostly white church and predominately black mosque are in most ways dramatically different, they both share a common passion and mission -- to help residents struggling with the city’s much-publicized water crisis.

As city and state officials struggle to find a way to furnish residents with clean water, religious organizations have been the leading forces in helping to inform and provide the community with resources when government solutions may have presented obstacles.

Across the city, more than 35 churches have joined in the effort, providing everything from water to baby formula. A key caveat to their help, they said, is that unlike the city, the churches have never required recipients to produce identification.

“Churches have always been the back bone of this community,” said Kim Skaff, Director of Women’s Ministries and newly appointed “water coordinator” at First Presbyterian.

Drinking water became contaminated in April 2014 when the city changed its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to the Flint River to save money. Failing to treat the water with corrosion inhibitors, lead from aging pipes leached into the city’s water supply, causing elevated levels of the metal in drinking water and creating a serious public danger.

In January, the city declared a state of emergency. Soon after, President Barack Obama declared it as a federal emergency.

At First Presbyterian, Skaff said the church integrated water distribution into its weekly meals for the homeless. Its kitchen must use bottled water to prepare meals for the 150 people who regularly show up, because the lead level in water in the church is too high to operate a commercial kitchen.

This week, the church is hosting 45 students from Howard University in Washington who are helping with the water crisis in Flint as part of their Alternative Spring Break program.

The Muslim House’s main mode of help is to distribute water, which it normally receives from others Islamic communities around the country, Imam Hanafi Malik said. The mosque, which has only 100 members, began distributing water on the corner outside of the mosque six months ago, long before the city began its efforts.

It also makes water deliveries to the elderly, Malik said. The imam said he can’t keep enough water at the mosque because of the demand.

“We don’t hold water,” he said. “We give it away that day.”

Unlike the city, which only allows residents to take two cases of water per day, the mosque does not limit the number of cases people take, he said.

“We give people what they need,” he said. “If they need 10 cases, we give them 10 cases.”

Just three weeks ago, the mosque gave out five truckloads of water, 180,000 bottles, in nearly five hours with the help a variety of faith-based organizations.

On Monday, Howard University students, donated and handed out scores of cases of water in conjunction with the mosque.

St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church also helps residents and it houses two organizations that are also contributing to the effort, Michigan

Faith in Action, a multi-faith assistance and resource center, and Catholic Charities of Genesee County. Michigan Faith Action goes to the communities to determine and help with their issues.

“Imagine getting ready in the morning without turning your faucet on,” said Sharon D. Allen, resource and fund development director, using herself as an example.

“I have to microwave and boil pots of water for my bath and to wash my hair. I have to use bottled water to brush my teeth.”

Tens of thousands of Flint residents go through a similar process every day, she said.

Since the final week of January, her organization has delivered 50,000 bottles of water, Allen said. Faith in Action also canvasses neighborhoods every Saturday and Sunday to record need for baby formula, water, filters, wipes and hand sanitizers, she said.

The organization keeps a ready supply of the products stacked along the walls of several of the church’s rooms.

Rapid response teams deliver the number of requested items directly to homes, which reduces families’ reliance on bottles of water, she said.

Language is a barrier to the process in some neighborhoods, Allen said. Consequently, the organization needs more canvassers who speak Spanish to reach the Spanish-speaking communities they serve.

Marybeth Paciorek, secretary of St. Michael’s, said helping the community has always been part of her church’s mission.

“Water is just a new thing,” Paciorek said.

Paciorek said despite the church’s relatively small congregation, its downtown location makes it hot spot for community outreach.

Many of their current parishioners live outside of Flint city limits, she said. Still, they continue to provide food, clothing, and now, water.

“All of the churches have stepped up and done all they can do.”

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