How Little Miss Flint is still making a difference in her community, 5 years into water crisis

The 11-year-old proves that anyone can fight for positive change.

April 22, 2019, 9:08 AM

Mari Copeny, better known as "Little Miss Flint," rose to national fame for her advocacy work, and became a voice for her community amid a devastating and ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, despite being only 11 years old.

In honor of Earth Day, "Good Morning America" and lifestyle website Brit + Co caught up with the bright and bubbly sixth-grader, who has developed a thirst for environmental change after watching the water in her town become undrinkable.

"I wanted to speak up and say, 'Hey, the water is bad ... someone please fix it?'" Copeny said. "And they never did fix it so I said, 'Welp, you have to listen to me because I'm a kid.'"

Copeny decided to take matters into her own hands, and started holding weekly water distribution events for thousands of Flint residents with limited access to clean water. She has also become an outspoken activist, drawing attention to the plight of her community.

"People are still using bottled water and they're not drinking or using the water to do anything," she said.

When Flint's water source was switched to the Flint River in 2014, nearly one hundred people became critically ill, and 12 people lost their lives after drinking the contaminated water.

Today, many residents of Flint still don't have access to clean water.

"A lot of people think we don't see it in the news anymore so the water crisis must be over...the water must be better. Absolutely not," Jaden, a Flint resident who would only be identified by her first name, told "GMA."

Flint resident Shakeeta Brooks added that she is "definitely not drinking the water and I'm never going to let my son drink it again."

With nearly 100,000 followers on social media, Copeny's advocacy work has received global attention over the years as the water crisis drags on, reminding the world that anyone can make a difference in their community.

Galen Miller, from the Flint-based nonprofit Pack Your Back, teamed up with Little Miss Flint at some of her water distribution events. She said the impact the sixth-grader is having within her city "is just massive."

"It's really amazing to see an 11-year-old doing so much," she added.

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