She is so deserving!
“Little Miss Flint” is set to receive the Changemaker Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, Billboard reports.
Mari Copeny, also known as “Little Miss Flint,” rose to prominence when she was just 8-years-old, after a letter she wrote to then-President Barack Obama about the water crisis in her hometown of Flint, Michigan made national news. The letter moved Obama to make a trip to the city to see the damage done in Flint, leading him to approve $100 million in relief for the city.
“Letters from kids like you are what make me so optimistic about the future,” Obama wrote back to Mari at the time.
That moment would spark a childhood dedicated to activism, the now 14-year-old describing herself as an environmental justice advocate. Since then, Mari has quadrupled her efforts in Flint, raising more than $250,000 for the Flint water crisis and distributing more than one million bottles to residents in need. She has also raised more than $600,000 for her Flint Kids projects, giving away over 17,000 book bags filled with school supplies, hosting community movie screenings and organizing holiday drives to give away toys.
The teen has also partnered with Hydroviv to donate her own lead-removal filter, with every dollar raised for her high-capacity filter providing the equivalent of 160 water bottles a day. So far, she has raised $627,000 for her Hydroviv filters which have been distributed to families and kid-centered organizations all across the country.
Now Mari is being honored with the Changemaker Award by Billboard, an award given to cultural figures who are leading through action. The teen will be the third recipient since its creation in 2020 and the youngest thus far.
“I’m excited to be honored by the Billboard Music Awards for my community efforts and commitment to highlight America’s water issues. I’m hopeful that this inspires others to fight for what’s right, even when no one else is looking,” said Mari.
In addition to her individual advocacy, Mari was also a member of the U.S. Delegation to the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the youngest to ever be selected as a delegate. She has served as a Youth Ambassador to the Women’s March on Washington, as chairman of the board of directors for Kid Box, and is a current member of 18 x Eighteen, an organization that promotes youth voting. She also serves on the Michigan Department of Education’s student anti-racism advisory board and as a member of the Flint Youth Justice League, a partnership with Michigan State that allows youth to counsel on issues related to them in the city of Flint.
It is Mari’s goal to run for president in 2044, the first year she’ll be eligible, bringing her expansive knowledge of environmental racism and toxic infrastructure to the highest office in the land. But for now she's still a teen, focused on being a varsity cheerleader and participating in the upcoming Miss Michigan Teen USA competition.
Mari will receive the Changemaker Award at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs on May 15th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The awards show will air live on NBC and stream live via Peacock.
Congratulations, Little Miss Flint!
Photo Courtesy of Chris Pizzello/AP Photo