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Minnesota musicians to hold benefit for water crisis in Flint, MI

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Twin Cities musicians are lending their voices to an effort to bring clean water and relief to the people of Flint, Michigan.

Pepito's Parkway Theater on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis will host a "Water for Flint" benefit next week. The event includes performances from some 27 artists.

According to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, the benefit was "inspired" by one of those artists, "New Orleans' soul legend" Willie West.

Organizer and presenter Paul Metsa, himself a noted singer-songwriter, told the website that West – who moved to Minnesota after Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown – called and "talked about doing a benefit for the people of Flint." And the show was born.

The Daily Planet says funds will go to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, one of the organizations helping the community bounce back from the water crisis.

The benefit starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 25.

Flint in the national spotlight

According to Time, the town's 100,000 residents are without access to clean drinking water, a situation that's "put Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in the political hot seat and prompted an emergency declaration from President Obama."

The magazine says the water crisis began in 2014, when Flint switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. As it turns out, the water from the river has high levels of chloride, a corrosive chemical which ate away at Flint's aging lead pipes, releasing the lead into the water supply.

The fallout from the situation has been considerable. Local taps have been dispensing brown water, the federal government has begun investigating the crisis, and now, doctors are warning residents about the long-term health effects of lead exposure, CBS Evening News says.

The effects are especially damaging to children. One doctor tells the network that even low levels of lead can cause brain damage in kids. Those exposed to the element are at risk of multiple problems, including low IQ and developmental issues.

To find out how you can help the residents of Flint, click here.

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