It was April 2014 when, at the push of a button, the Flint River — which hadn’t been treated for daily use in over 50 years — became the city of Flint, Michigan’s main water source. Government leaders cited a potential savings of around $5 million over the course of two years for a city staring into the face of financial emergency. However, at a human cost, came residents, both young and old who were unknowingly drinking water poisoned with a known neurotoxin - lead. It was almost two years before they were notified of it’s presence, not by government officials who sought to cover up the man made disaster, but through the vigilant work of activists, a local pediatrician and a scientist from miles away. Today, those still living in city of Flint are left coping with a failing infrastructure, a lost trust in their government system and a looming sense of fear for their health.
Holding it’s roots in the 19th century debutante ball, the American prom is renowned as one of the most important coming of age traditions. For a predominantly African American community such as Flint, Michigan, prom becomes more than a tradition. It becomes a community gathering filled with bursts of pride. Red carpets are rolled out and luxury vehicles line the main street. Young women are adorned in their finest jewelry and young men strut in their finest suits. Family members cheer and click away with their phones. After months of planning, these youth get one night to transform into royalty.
It was just a short amount of time before Britta Rasmussen realized that her son Kenth’s slow development was actually a mental handicap. Prepared to take on the challenge of raising him at home, she soon realized that as he progressed into adulthood so did his mental illness. His violent behavior became overwhelming for the family and Kenth was sent to live in an institution in hopes of a better life. However, the reality that first greeted Kenth was far from ideal. Life in an institution designed for people with Autism only heightened his violence and misery. He retreated to isolation. Years passed until a day came for Kenth to be moved. An institution near his home county called Solund in Skanderborg, Denmark had recently been transitioning into a philosophy called Gentle Teaching. Today, Kenth is one of over 200 residents at Solund. Through the support of his family, and the care of his caretakers, his once violent behavior has transformed to reveal a complex and curious man.
In the hilly countryside of Fordsville, Ky., now 62-year-old Faron Cox spends his days in the same double-wide trailer where he spent his childhood. Following the loss of his father in 2006, Cox inherited the home in addition to the expanse of land he now looks after. At an age when most are retiring, Cox faces the daily challenges and struggles of raising his two youngest sons, Faron "Bear" Cox, then 7, and Skylor "Tiber" Cox, then 3. Reality hits often for Faron as he finds himself worrying about the demands of childcare and his diminishing health. He relies on his disability check and pain medication for his back to get through the fiscal and physical challenges of each day. A tense and complicated relationship with the children's mother leaves Faron as a single father. Today, he questions the time he has left to watch his children grow.