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Activist Pens Open Letter to Steve Harvey: Flint Water Crisis Is No Laughing Matter

Kalonji Changa, National Coordinator of Free the People Movement and talk show host Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey,

I actually used to enjoy your country humor and down-home jokes until recently when I had to check myself for confusing ignorance with comedy. All this time, I was duped into believing that Steve Harvey was the “funny uncle” or the “brother on the corner” always crackin’ jokes, temporarily relieving the pain brought about by everyday struggles.

I’m ashamed to admit that my family and I would watch “Family Feud” back to back religiously to catch you hosting with your punch lines, one-liners and goofy facial expressions. As a community activist and people’s advocate, I would listen to the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” periodically in spite of your recognizable ignorance and buffoonery, chalking it up as “just comedy.”

But we know that nothing is “just comedy” and everything is political. In January, when you met with Donald Trump, the people were upset. Many felt outraged and slighted. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The people have an eight-day memory” and we see that those words have proven to be precise because many have forgotten about you bowing down to the oligarchy and reporting to America that “Trump is a good man.”

Your latest bout of uncontrollable idiocy was delivered via “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” when you mocked a caller from Flint, Mich., a victim of the genocidal practices of the U.S. government (Flint water crisis) by stating, “He [the caller] gonna say Cleveland don’t deserve jack and he over there bathing in all that silver water.” And as if that foolishness wasn’t enough, as your co-hosts tried to apologize and move on, your dumb ass continued to put your $5000 shoes down your own throat by saying, “One more thing — enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”

Absolutely despicable! You must REALLY be feeling yourself. It must be pretty comfortable in “the house” when you can muster up the audacity to make mockery of an ongoing tragedy such as the Flint water crisis. What’s funny about the countless people who have lost their lives and loved ones to outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease? What’s funny about the hundreds of thousands of children and adults exposed to lead poison, the same lead poison that can be attributed to behavioral disorders, brain damage, hearing problems, delayed puberty and reduced fetal growth in pregnant women? Do you know that lead poison affects the heart, kidneys and nervous system?

Aside from that, did you know that the residents of Flint, Mich., were forced to continue to pay the water bill for this contaminated water or risk having their children taken by child protective services? And you think it’s FUNNY? You silly man! Where is your humanity? Where is your empathy when it comes to these victims of chemical and biological warfare? This is a form of ethnic cleansing and over the loss of a basketball game you douse your own supporters with brown water?

You have some explaining to do, Steve Harvey. Not just a contrived press statement from your high-paid publicist or a funky donation/photo op at ground zero or a “Hoodie Award.”  Nope, not this time, Steve. It’s time for you to really humble yourself and invest in the community on a grassroots level or watch the community divest in you. No longer will we, Black and oppressed people, be betrayed by the comprador class and delivered on a platter as a laughingstock to the ruling class.

Respect the people or the people will reject you.

Kalonji Jama Changa, Free the People Movement

Kalonji Jama Changa is an award-winning political activist and founder/national coordinator of the social justice organization FTP Movement. He has aided in the growth and development of programs such as International Feed the People, Urban Survival Preparedness Institute, Siafu Youth Corps, National Coalition to Combat Police Terrorism and Mama’s Army, to name a few. He is author of the bestselling book, “How to Build a People’s Army” and co-producer of the documentary “Organizing is the New Cool.”

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