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Looking the Other Way

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A recent news story reported that non­English speaking residents of Flint, Michigan, have not had access to information about the water crisis there. Dozens of babies continue to be exposed to lead — babies who are legal citizens of the United States.

This situation is not uncommon since many undocumented homeowners are ineligible for services to remediate lead poisoning hazards. People are often surprised to hear that undocumented persons can buy homes in the U.S.

Regardless of one’s convictions about immigration, the fact is that many babies raised in these homes are being poisoned — if not by water, then by lead­based paint, soil, and dust. For the past 10 years working in the Healthy Homes movement, I have truly believed that no one would want to poison a child. But now my belief system has been disquieted.

The Constitution begins with establishing justice. Justice means we present information so everyone has access to it. And justice means that leaders are brave enough to put the welfare of every resident ahead of political gain.

The water in Flint is not drinkable, just as many homes in Omaha and throughout the country where Latinos, refugees and poor children live are not habitable. Omaha is working toward a solution, but we have more work to do. Justice will be delivered when we stop arguing about who gets to be served but rather how we will serve everyone — starting with our citizen babies.

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OHKA is helping people in a unique way. There are few things as sacred to people as their homes, and we make their homes safe and healthy.

– Nicole Caputo-Rennels, Director of Housing Services