Remember that viral photo of Little Miss Flint looking less than enthused when she met President Trump? Well, five years into water crisis in Flint, Michigan, Mari “Little Miss Flint” Copeny is still making a difference in her community and using her platform to bring attention to the ongoing epidemic. The now 12-year-old activist may be just a 6th grader, but she’s just landed a position on the Kids Board of Directors with NYC-based KIDBOX, the first social mission-based kids style box. She’s joined by 10 other board members, including Jahkil Jackson and Havana Chapman Edwards, who are demonstrating that they are a force to be reckoned with and will be important leaders of the future in the African-American community through their various philanthropic and entrepreneurial efforts.
Mari and her fellow pint-size advocates will work on executing meaningful and charitable projects in their local communities to expand on the company's core mission of clothing over one million children in need and will be tasked specifically with spreading social good and kindness across the country.
BET Digital caught up with our favorite “Little Miss Flint,” Mari, on her new role, the important questions she says we need to be asking the 2020 presidential candidates and what was really going through her mind in that infamous pic with the POTUS.
BET: What are you looking forward to most in working with KIDBOX?
Mari Copeny: At the end of this month I will be going to New York City to meet with the other kids for the director’s members as well as members of the Kid’s Bop Executive Team. For our kickoff day (July 31), we will get to participate in a kindness session on the importance of being kind to everyone. I hope to learn more about how I can continue to be kind to anyone and how to teach others that kindness is always in fashion and to always unite no matter what.
B: How has this crisis shaped your life and the lives of other Flint residents?
MC: The people here do not trust the water or trust the government officials that are supposed to keep us safe because so many of them failed us. People here are scared of the water coming from our tap and most are still using bottled water. Once our trust is lost, it’s hard to get back.
B: What were you really thinking in the viral photo of you meeting President Donald Trump? And what was your initial reaction when learning the photo had gone viral?
MC: The were a lot of people screaming at him, and the entire scene was overwhelming, back then I was not scared of him. When the photo first went viral, I used that as a chance to tell the world that Flint still isn’t safe, and that people here still need help. The photo still makes me laugh.
B: There's a lot of presidential candidates looking to run and a lot of social issues to address as we gear up for the next election. Based on this post [see below], what are the tough questions you'd ask?
MC: Well, first I want every single candidate to agree to do a youth-led town hall. I personally want to know how they are going to fix this [water crisis], and not just Flint, but other cities that currently have water crises going on, too. I want to know what they are doing to keep kids safe and what they plan to do to get kids out of the cages at the border.
B: Can you share any tips for becoming a young advocate to other children that may want to follow in your footsteps?
MC: Even if it seems hard, or you are just scared to do it, the hardest part will always be getting people to listen because you are young, but you can do it and I will support you.
B: What do you want to be when you grow up?
MC: I want to be president in 2044.
(Photo: Courtesy of Mari "Little Miss Flint" Copeny)