Judge Mathis is known for holding court on national TV; however, he held court of a different kind this past weekend in Flint, Michigan as he hosted a community forum on behalf of the residents of Flint. Mathis is only one celebrity that has joined the recent surge of celebrities who have come together to lend their support for the #FlintWaterCrisis. On Saturday, Jan. 30, Judge Mathis was joined by famed attorney Willie E. Gary to hold an open community forum for the residents of Flint to discuss their legal rights, ask legal questions and get legal answers from real lawyers.
Attorney Gary gave brief remarks towards the beginning of the forum and thanked Judge Mathis for helping to make it possible for him to be in Flint to help. Gary, who has earned the reputation as “The Giant Killer” by taking down some of America’s most well-known corporate giants, is best known for winning billion dollar settlements for his clients. He brought some of his finest legal counsel along with him to address questions.
The forum was held at the Quinn Chapel AME Church and was packed to capacity with concerned citizens ready to let their voices be heard. Mathis was the moderator and ensured that the peace was held in the church, as the forum definitely had its moments of what the judge would consider contempt. One disrupter was actually removed for being unruly.
The forum was broken down into two halves, one where the judge read questions from note cards that were collected from the crowd and let the panel of lawyers address the questions. The second half was filled with livid residents who had more to say than they had time. These residents formed a line out the door of the church to talk directly to Flint city officials and representatives.
The crowd was anxious, angry and eager to tell their story. One woman waited patiently for her chance to speak, and spoke of having to close her long standing soul food restaurant only two weeks prior due to her making $42.00 for an entire day’s earnings. Another woman got up and made the revelation that Flint residents haven’t even received an official notice from the government to stop using Flint water, which was surprising news to Judge Mathis and his team. Another resident, Veronica Kelly, 64, actually brought in her eroded pipes to show the crowd. The pipes were rusted, corroded and had actual holes in them (pictures below).
The day was emotionally charged, and filled with residents who were simply looking for an outlet to be heard. As the forum wound down, there was an uneasy feeling that this was only the beginning, and that the surface has merely been scratched. We’re sure there’s much more to come of this tragedy, failure and total disregard of this American city.