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Many were horrified with the fallout from Flint, Michigan. What stunned the nation so much are the youngest victims and the families who have forever been altered. At the heart of the lead contamination of waterways in Flint might not just be poor planning and resources. Some are insisting that it might be more about civil rights and a systematic racism at play than about any municipal failure.

Civil rights water contaminatin

According to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and a civil rights attorney, the contaminated water systems of the city are deeply rooted in historical racism that continues to plague America. A public health catastrophe of grand proportions, it is unfortunately not the first time that this type of widespread fallout has befallen poor neighbourhoods in America.

The report calls not just for major changes to be made in operational procedures for the downtown area, but also for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission fashioned after one used in South Africa when the government was trying to do away with apartheid and rebuild government trust. On the same scale of credibility, Michigan residents no longer believe that the government or its employees care about their well-being or address their needs.

The Commission calls for Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, to devise a cabinet to delve into the implicit bias that exists in Flint, and to require all agencies within the state, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Environmental Quality, to do the same. 

The hope is that organizations will tackle the prejudice that exists in operations around the Michigan area, specifically in the poorer communities. The Commission insists that a systematic change is needed to influence the way that decisions are made to help the disadvantaged communities of Flint so that they are given the same opportunities, services, and safety assurances as other areas and big cities in Michigan.

Specifically, the Commission calls for a locally-elected official who is given a state-appointed managerial position to make decisions about the community. That official is to report to an emergency manager, who is elected directly by the governor instead of the state treasurer. That way, the person who is responsible for choosing the official is elected into office and has accountability for their appointment to the communities they serve.

The belief is that the same contamination and cover-up would never have happened in a more affluent part of Michigan, like Ann Arbor. The 135-page report outlines how the incident occurred specifically because the surrounding community was occupied by poorer residents, predominantly African American individuals. The report maintains that Flint is tantamount to segregation, and therefore the problems experienced in the community should be tackled in the same manner as breaking up South African apartheid.

The Commission found that the residents of Flint were subjected to hardship and harm that was the result of systematic and structural discrimination at a government level, not just a mistake made by a careless municipality. When you have poor neighbourhoods that aren’t privy to the same rights and safety, what results is water pipes that leak lead and other harmful contaminants into the water.

It also leads to fewer jobs, fewer retail establishments, and fewer opportunities that only further perpetuate the poor conditions experienced in Flint. The residents of Flint were not afforded the same protections as other residents of Michigan simply because of the colour of their skin and the size of their bank accounts.

There is no doubt that a lot of trust has been lost and will have to be built back up. That won’t happen overnight or with the same system of protections, environmental and otherwise being the structure of Flint Michigan. If Michigan residents are ever going to feel safe and have faith in the government who they look to for help, there is going to have to be some real change made at all levels. 

Flint is a city known for hard times and bad fortune. Once it was one of the most affluent cities in the US, thanks to automobile manufacturing, but when the plants went away they took the affluence with them. What remained was people without jobs and no one looking out for them, and just as the city was making a resurgence, here is another catastrophe that will have to be rebuilt one brick at a time. A change has to start with trust and assurances that the colour of your skin doesn’t define your worth.

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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The Cheapest Places to Upsize Your Home Revealed

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Does it feel like you’re seriously lacking in space in your current home? Do you find the clutter has taken over your life simply because you don’t have enough storage space? Do you and your family members feel as though you’re living on top of each other with little to no privacy? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then there’s a good chance you’re already convinced it’s time to upsize your home. But what if you can’t or don’t want to upsize the budget? Can you upsize your home in an affordable way?

With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the cheapest places in the UK where you can upsize your home.

Orkney

Top spot goes to Orkney, which is not only a great location for upsizing but offers all kinds of other benefits to residents. It’s here that you’ll be able to take advantage of a bigger living space without having to inflate the budget exponentially.

As an in-depth article by deacon.co.uk – a specialist buildings insurance provider – points out, it is often called the happiest place to live. Residents consistently point out their high quality of living, low crime rates, school class sizes in the primary years are low. It’s rare you’ll find anything that would be classified as a traffic jam, there is plenty of open land and wide-open spaces, and you’ll be treated to some of the most exceptional natural scenery in the world.

Richmond in North Yorkshire

Another great location to research is Richmond in North Yorkshire. It features many of the same draws as Orkney does, but this time you will be located in England. The cost of living is more reasonable than many other areas of the UK, house prices are still affordable, the crime rates are low, and you’ve got a robust nightlife and entertainment scene that you can explore.

Rutland in the East Midlands

If you like that quiet kind of setting that is filled with history and fabulous architecture, then you may want to consider Rutland, which is the smallest county in Britain. There are plenty of rolling hills, the River Welland, a lot of agricultural lands, and is a drivable 164 km from London (ideal for a weekend getaway).

Hambleton in North Yorkshire

Hambleton is located in England’s northern regions with Northallerton being the largest town in the district. The district is dotted with small towns and villages, is known for its agricultural lands, and even got the title as the “best place to live in Yorkshire” a few years back. This title was based on life expectancy, overall health and wellness of residents, personal well-being, weather, crime rates, and employment.

Other Notable Places to Consider

And if you’re still not sold on the places listed, other affordable areas that you can potentially upsize your home include Eden in Cumbria, Westminster, and Richmond-upon-Thames. Each has its own unique personality and list of benefits. No matter which of these locations you pick, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to fulfill your goal of branching out and upsizing your home to something that is more functional and liveable.

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Showing Your Love For Healthcare Workers

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healthcare doctor

When you know and love a healthcare worker during this difficult time, you may be searching for ways that you can show you appreciation for the hard work that they do. Coming up with some great ideas can seem a little difficult, as many items are inaccessible and restrictions are closing shops and limiting travel. Luckily there are still many ways that you can show your love for the health care workers in your life, as there are several brilliant concepts which you can make the most of to put a smile on their face today. So, if you want to find out more, then read on to uncover some of the best suggestions that you can utilise to show appreciation during this difficult period. 

Make Their Life A Little Easier 

One of the best things that you can do for a healthcare specialist that you know and love during this tough period is to attempt to make their life a little easier. Extra long shifts battling against this new virus can have a terrible effect on a person’s mental health, as well as sapping away all of their energy at the same time. This can mean that things like doing their grocery shopping and making meals are often the very last thing on their mind, opening up the perfect opportunity for you to get involved and lend a helping hand. Doing a big food shop that you can take to their home after work will be such an amazing gesture they will no doubt appreciate, whilst going an extra step further to actually cook up a delicious meal that they can enjoy after a long day can put such a huge smile on their face. Be sure to make the most of healthy ingredients including lots of fresh fruit and veg, as they must look after their immune system to stay strong throughout. 

Little Extras 

There are several different little extras that you may want to invest in to show your health care loved ones a bit of appreciation, and you can get these items delivered straight to their home so that you needn’t bother trying to work around social distancing measures to drop off their present yourself. For example, something like a heart badge reel that they can add to their uniform can be a great pick-me-up that they can look down at for a little motivation during their long shifts at work! It’s also a great idea to find some self care activities that they can indulge in, such as a luxurious face mask or bubble bath that they can utilise to get some down time at the end of the day.

Showing your love for the healthcare workers in your life needn’t be as difficult as you might think when you can make the most of the top tips and tricks detailed above! Whether you decide to help them get their grocery shopping, cook a nutritious meal or simple invest in a few little gifts to put a smile on their face – every little helps!

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3 Steps to Becoming a Better Person

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become a better person

We only get one life so it’s important to live it well, make the most of things and seize opportunities that come your way. If you’re hoping to make the most of your time on earth, here are just three ways you can go about it. 

Be more understanding

We all want to be the best person we can be, and a big part of that is relating to and getting on with other people. But it’s not always in the way we think, we don’t need to make grand gestures, we don’t need to be able to give therapist level advice or be a perfect friend in every sense. The main thing we need to do is be empathetic and understanding- be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It can be easy to be irritated, annoyed or upset if a friend lets you down, cancels plans or does something else undesirable but when you’re understanding you’re able to empathise about why this might be. Maybe they’re busy, have other priorities (as we all do) or double booked themselves. We’re able to cut ourselves slack as we know that we’re only human, do others the same justice. Being understanding doesn’t mean being a doormat and being walked over, you do still need to know when someone is taking advantage. But for the most part, the people in your life won’t be purposely trying to upset you, be more understanding and it’s easy to realise this. 

Find your own spiritual path

Having beliefs in something that matters to you can be a great way to live your life, it seems counterproductive but realising how small you are on this planet and as part of the greater universe can feel reassuring. It means that your problems are also small and often irrelevant, and as a result can help you to just get out there and live your best life. Being spiritual and having beliefs doesn’t have to mean being religious, there are many reasons you might be put off from traditional religion. While it helps many, there’s no denying that it’s also a cause of many wars, there are numerous church abuse lawsuits that have been filed across the globe and to some, it simply doesn’t fit their beliefs. But don’t write off finding greater meaning altogether, find your own spiritual path. This could be anything from numerology to deep meditation to trusting in the universe and it’s signals. Do some research and find a path that suits you. 

Find a good work/ life balance

Work is important, not only does it give your life purpose but it allows you to earn the money you need to have the lifestyle you want outside of work. Most of us have no choice but to work, but it’s easy to go overboard with it. Maybe you’re passionate about your job or are just a bit of a workaholic, take a step back. Find the balance between work and life such as travel, family, pets and hobbies. You’ll be much happier for it.

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