|July 6, 2007 (age 16)
Amariyanna "Mari" Copeny, also known as "Little Miss Flint," is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan.
In April 2014, the source of the drinking water for Flint, Michigan, was changed from treated water drawn from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Residents reported changes to the water's color, smell and taste, and in 2015, tests performed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia Tech found elevated lead levels in the water. Officials had not applied corrosion inhibitors to the water, resulting in lead from aging city pipes leaching into the water supply. On January 5, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint, and on January 16, 2016, President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency.
In 2016, when Copeny was eight years old, she wrote a letter to President Obama asking if he would meet with her and other Flint residents when they were in Washington to watch congressional hearings on the Flint water crisis. Obama responded to Copeny and told her that he would visit Flint instead, which he did on May 4. His visit helped to draw national attention to the situation, and he later authorized $100 million to help repair Flint's water system.
In 2016 and 2017, Copeny raised funds in partnership with the non-profit organization Pack Your Back to purchase backpacks and school supplies for Flint children. In 2018, after the state of Michigan stopped providing free bottled water to Flint residents, Copeny raised over $280,000 and distributed over a million bottles of water. In 2019, she partnered with a water filtration company to provide water filters to Flint and other communities dealing with toxic water.
Copeny continues to use social media to draw attention to and raise money for causes in support of the children of Flint. She is also the youngest Women’s March youth ambassador, a national youth ambassador for the Climate March and a youth ambassador for Equality for Her.