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‘Everyday life is the same:’ Family reflects on four years of the water crisis

Sincere Smith
Sincere Smith(WNEM)
Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 3:11 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - A chatty three old had a lot to say after Time Magazine made him the poster child for the Flint Water Crisis in 2016.

Four years later and now seven-year-old Sincere Smith is little shy, but he still carries around that Time Magazine showing his innocent face, damaged by the effects of the lead tainted water...

“Just trying to get his skin tone to even out so he goes to the dermatologist,” his mother Ariana Hawk said.

Visible scars reminders of why Ariana moved her family out into the suburbs during the crisis, thinking it was the best thing for her family. But because she left the city, she lost the financial help she needed to care for Sincere.

“We moved out of the city and lost benefits and then we lost medical care and everything that was covered under when we were in Flint from the water crisis, so we had to come back,” Hawk said.

And when she came back to Flint, Ariana says she quickly realized little had changed, including her own trust for the safety of the water.

“Our everyday life is the same as it was in 2014, still using bottled water for cooking, babies still using bottled water,” Hawk said.

And while Ariana is appreciative that her family will receive a share of the $600 million settlement from the Flint Water Crisis lawsuit, she questions how you can put a dollar amount on human life.

“So, many people have died,” she said. “There’s family, can’t bring them back. Money can’t bring them back. My daughter’s dad died from Legionnaire’s Disease. Money can’t bring those people back. I don’t care how much money they give us. I’ll still miss him, she won’t know her dad There’s no amount of money, that’s just going to be an ok amount.”