Flint, Michigan, Gets New Ally: Beyonce

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Singer, songwriter and Super Bowl 50 halftime performer Beyonce is the latest national figure to take on the Flint, Mich., drinking water contamination crisis.

The Latest: Yesterday, alongside the pop music star’s world tour dates, it was announced that she would create a fund with the United Way of Genesee County and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to “address long-term developmental, education, nutrition and health needs of the children affected by the Flint Water Crisis.” She will also work with United Way’s local programs addressing the water crisis.

To Recap: Elevated levels of lead were found in some children in Flint following the city's April 2014 decision to switch its drinking water source to the Flint River without implementing a corrosion control program. As many as 9,000 children could potentially be affected.

Why It Matters: High levels of lead exposure in children can lead to a number of brain development issues—such as mental retardation or behavioral problems—among other health consequences, according to the World Health Organization.

Further More: The crisis is being regarded as an example of how environmental racism, environmental classism and over environmental justice issues still exist in our country. The city of Flint is 56 percent black, and 40 percent of residents live at or below the poverty line.

In Recent Weeks: Flint has garnered attention on Capitol Hill, in Michigan and elsewhere over related oversight, accountability and remedy issues. Senate Democrats blocked a broad energy bill last week in a dispute over whether the measure should include funding to help pay for the Flint water crisis. Then over the weekend, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton took a detour from the campaign trail to talk with Flint residents at a church. Democratic presidential candidates are even holding a debate in Flint in March in light of the crisis.