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CF library to host Zoom meeting with doctor who discovered Flint water crisis

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

CRYSTAL FALLS — The public is invited to join a Zoom meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday with two Crystal Falls Book Clubs as they connect with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to discuss her book “What the Eyes Don’t See.”

The book is her account of her discovery that Flint’s children were being poisoned by lead leaching into the city’s drinking water. The book is Michigan Humanities’ choice for the 2019-20 Great Michigan Read, and the Crystal Falls District Library has partnered with Michigan Humanities to distribute free books as well as supporting educational materials at their library.

The library was given 30 books, reading guides, and bookmarks that have been circulating with patrons, the two book clubs in the area, and the library board. Evelyn Gathu, the director of the Crystal Falls Library contacted Hanna-Attisha about having a virtual book talk with the book clubs and patrons from the library.

Gathu said she was overjoyed when Hanna-Attisha herself responded by email positively. To get instructions to join the Zoom meeting, go to the library’s website: http://joomla.uproc.lib.mi.us/CrystalFalls/.

The Great Michigan Read aims to connect Michigan residents by deepening readers’ understanding of our state, our society, and our humanity. A statewide panel of teachers, librarians, community leaders and book lovers selects the Great Michigan Read every two years.

Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, Michigan Humanities president and CEO, said she hopes “What the Eyes Don’t See” will encourage Michigan citizens statewide to read, discuss and learn from the book, and that it will increase opportunities for civil discourse on topics ranging from water quality and access to environmental injustice and the intersection of humanities and science.

“Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s willingness to fight for children and tirelessly advocate for change in and beyond Michigan will have readers cheering as she follows the science and her young patients’ experiences to uncover one of the state’s worst public health catastrophes,” Kasprzycki said.

Hanna-Attisha is the founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint.

Currently an associate professor of pediatrics and human development at the MSU College of Human Medicine, she has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts.

She was among the first to question if lead was leaching from the city’s water pipes after an emergency manager switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River in 2014. She also is committed to increasing literacy in Flint and elsewhere.

Hanna-Attisha said she was honored to have “What the Eyes Don’t See” chosen for the 2019-20 Great Michigan Read, and said the concepts of place and history are critically important to her book.

“From the resistance of the Flint sit-down strikers to the reign of demagogue Charles Coughlin, Michigan’s DNA is full of history — some good and some bad and some shared and some hidden — which we must understand in order to address our present-day challenges,” she said. “Like so many Michiganders, my story is an immigrant story. It was critical to share this part of the story in this memoir because it informs how I see the world and the work that I am privileged to do.”

Copies of “What the Eyes Don’t See” are available at the library for those who want to read the book. The Crystal Falls District Community Library is currently open for curbside service only. To get a copy of the book, email staff at cflib@uproc.lib.mi.us or call 906-875-4465.

The 2019-20 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide, and local partners, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Meijer Foundation.

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