FLINT, MI — A young activist of the Flint water crisis is set to be recognized for efforts toward environmental justice and clean, safe water at a prestigious gala.
UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is scheduled to honor Amariyanna Copeny, also known as “Little Miss Flint,” for her work toward environmental justice and clean, safe water at the institute’s annual gala, which will take place virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
Copeny will be introduced by Shonda Rhimes, an award-winning producer, best selling author, and creator of the hit television series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”
In 2016, at just 8 years old, Copeny’s hometown of Flint was facing an unprecedented water crisis, which drove Copeny to write a letter to then-President Barack Obama.
Obama responded to her letter and visited the city. In January 2017, the president approved $100 million to address the problem and improve infrastructure in Flint.
Now 14, Copeny continues to advocate for environmental justice in Flint and beyond.
She has raised more than $1 million for safe water efforts across the United States, she has partnered with Hydroviv to produce her very own water filter, her work has been featured in various news coverage, and she plans to run for U.S. President in 2044, according to the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability news release.
“I’m honored to be recognized for my efforts in getting water into the homes of those who need it, but will be even more excited when those efforts are no longer necessary,” Copeny said in a statement.
In addition to Copeny, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s virtual program will honor actor, musician and activist Jaden Smith, and will include guest appearances by former Vice President Al Gore, actors Harrison Ford, Issa Rae, Courteney Cox, singer-songwriters Natasha Bedingfield and Sting among others to be announced.
The event will also feature four current UCLA graduate students highlighting their ongoing research and the university’s efforts to educate rising leaders from all backgrounds and make sure communities most impacted by climate change and environmental degradation have a prominent role in generating solutions.
Marilyn Raphael, the university’s first Black director of the Institute of Environment and Sustainability (IoES), will also speak about overcoming global environmental problems by providing equitable solutions for minority communities who are disproportionately negatively affected by climate change.
“The entire world faces threats from climate change and toxic pollution, but communities of color often live on the front lines,” Raphael said. “These communities suffer the most harm and have fewer resources to adapt.”
The university’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability moves science to action on the front lines of environmental progress, per the news release.
For more details about viewing the virtual event, visit here.
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