Mark Cuker Volunteers in Flint

On the weekend of September 23 I had the pleasure of helping folks from the law offices of Conrad J Benedetto cook and serve a chicken dinner to about 30 needy Flint residents at My Brother’s Keeper shelter. All who attended were extremely gracious and appreciative of our efforts, and it was most rewarding to talk to them about the situation in Flint and what we could do to help them.

The people of Flint never cease to impress me with their resilience, determination and grit. Now in their fourth year of not being able to drink their tap water, shower or bathe without fear, they continue to fight for a better life for themselves and their community. But assert their legal rights, the right to bodily integrity, the right to preserve their homes from toxic contamination, the right to protect their property values.

As a lawyer, it is my job to use the law to achieve justice for the people of Flint. This will be a long and often difficult task. Law and justice are sometimes two very different things. Many laws stand in the way of justice. They create walls which protect the rich and the powerful from the people they have wronged.

And so it is in Flint, where federal and state of Michigan laws provide different types of immunity to protect Governor Snyder and his subordinates from lawsuits. Although these protections are the law, they do look much like justice when compared to all the hardships suffered by the people of Flint who cannot drink their water or use it to shower or give to their pets.

We are putting some holes in that wall. In two decisions, courts have denied motions to have these cases thrown out, but most of the wall still stands, and we need to keep fighting until we bring the whole wall down.