Carly Hammond is a 23-year-old progressive who has an extensive community organizing and environmental justice background in Saginaw and Genesee counties. She worked with Michigan United in Flint to organize protests, host community meetings, and conduct press conferences around the Flint Water Crisis. In Saginaw, she worked to empower youth in politics and led a team that registered over 1,200 students to vote in the 2018 election.
Flint is where she began her political and community organizing career:
“I listened to the horrifying stories of parents whose children were lead-poisoned. Would-be mothers who miscarried at the ends of their second trimesters. People who couldn’t afford to leave but couldn’t afford to stay. So many stories. I kept going back to different community organizations and city council meetings to listen, so I could hear people tell their truths. I was horrified, but locked in. This is where I was supposed to be. I’ve read through thousands of documents, articles, reports, laws, contracts, and research papers. My outrage grew with every page. Ten state officials are currently in criminal proceedings for their involvement in the act and subsequent cover-up of poisoning a city of 100,000 residents.”
She worked with Michigan united and other organizations to campaign for water justice:
“I am so proud of my colleagues; we held dozens of public meetings, organized press conferences, and staged direct actions to campaign for water justice. We shut down a state legislative session in a powerful protest of the closure of free water distribution sites. We exposed a city contract that was going to bankrupt the people and take away their ability to negotiate or sue. However, when it came to procuring public policy, we were beating our heads against the wall. Meetings with state officials turned into shouting matches when they responded to “my child had to endure a spinal tap procedure to be tested for lead” with “testing for lead in schools just isn’t a priority.” I watched Flint residents, many of them my friends, be ignored and dismissed by state powers. Not only that, some were ridiculed, arrested, and beaten for speaking truth to power.”
Carly returned to work in Saginaw on voter engagement and community organizing:
“Saginaw is a community that mirrors the issues we’re seeing nationwide: increased disinvestment, decreased opportunity, with segregation, poverty, and violence. While money and resources seem abundant in downtown areas and businesses- our neighborhoods, schools, and people are being left behind. Workers don’t make enough money, we’re struggling with rent, food, car insurance, healthcare costs, oppression, addiction, homelessness, and hopelessness.”
“My dad went to Arthur Hill, my mom worked in the city for 35 years. So much has changed in that time. The divides between race and class have gotten deeper- the transfer of wealth from Saginaw, Bridgeport, BV, and surrounding communities has resulted in school closures, business loss, and an inescapable cycle of poverty.”