Water Equity Clearinghouse

Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative

Genesee County, MI

The Genesee County Hispanic Latino Collaborative (GCHLC), also known as La Placita by families, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the undocumented and documented Hispanic and Latino community, but advocates for everyone. Their mission is “to advocate for the Hispanic-Latino populations in Genesee County in the areas of education, cultural awareness and social needs.” GCHLC provides services to the Genesee County community in the areas of social services and education. Some of these services include providing resources in Spanish and English regarding water safety and making sure that Hispanic and Latino communities have access to bottled water. GCHLC is also the first organization to bring awareness at a local, state, and federal level to the exclusionary and detrimental impact that providing information only in English has on other communities.  

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

GCHLC is one of the leaders in aiding immigrant communities during the Flint water crisis. One of the main obstacles to undocumented immigrants obtaining clean water supplies is the legitimate fear of being detained or stopped by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in grocery stores and other areas around Flint. Water distribution sites were also asking for identification, closing the door on those who could not produce government issued IDs. State-issued water filters were also being denied to residents that could not produce valid ID. Furthermore, pamphlets published in English around Flint did not help those with limited English proficiency, so communities as large as 1,000 were still in the dark with regards to the lead contaminated water. Others, although aware, were not given information on how to deal with the crisis, so many were continuing to boil water, which actually concentrates lead contaminants in the water. GCHLC has aided these communities by raising funds online, informing immigrants about their right to attend free lead testing clinics and receive water at distribution sites, and organizing volunteers to go door-to-door to share information and collect donations.