(KPIX 5) — On their first airplane flight of any kind, two California teenagers were headed to Flint, Michigan Friday morning to help with that city’s water crisis.
Their mission: to bring fresh supplies to the hundreds of undocumented immigrants who are affected by the contaminated tap water supply, but do not have access to clean water because they don’t have valid identification cards.
Bryan Martinez, 18 and Carizma Brown, 19, of South Central Los Angeles are taking the 5,000-mile round trip with donated drinking water, baby wipes and other supplies for a community that is often turned away from fresh water supplies by government authorities.
“Imagine you can’t even brush your teeth, take a shower,” said Brown. “We take these things for granted. This means we can do a little something about it.”
Martinez and Brown are being helped by former KPIX 5 Jefferson Award winner Dr. Cesar Cruz, who last month became the first first Mexican male immigrant to graduate from Harvard University’s doctoral program for Education Leadership.
Cruz received his Jefferson Award for creating a program in Oakland which brought rival gang members together over meals to help them find common ground and prevent violence.
The Flint contingent is sponsored by Homeboy Industries, which has collected their donations through an online fundraising campaign. They will deliver their supplies to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Flint on Saturday.
“Our goal is to raise awareness and expand the community of kinship across state lines,” said Cruz. “When Bryan and Carizma called the church in Flint they had church secretary Mary Mosqueda, from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, crying tears of joy. She told them how moved she was that kids in L.A. wanted to make a difference. That touched her heart. That is kinship without borders.”