Michigan teen to be honored at Billboard Music Awards for environmental activism

FLINT, MI — Since she was 8 years old, Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny has shined a light on Flint’s environmental injustice and how the water crisis impacted her and her neighbors.

Now 14, Copeny’s community work has grown immensely and has been noticed numerous times by state and national officials and organizations.

This time, it’s the Billboard Music Awards.

RELATED: ‘Little Miss Flint’ to be honored by UCLA for Flint water crisis activism

Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint, will be honored Sunday, May 15, at the Billboard Music Awards with the Changemaker award.

The Billboard Music Awards Changemaker honor is given to pop culture figures that speak truth to power through their commitment to individual action and leadership. They are socially conscious, politically aware, ever-present in their community and charitable with time, crucial resources and influence to improve the lives of others, the awards organization stated.

“I’m excited to be honored by the Billboard Music Awards for my community efforts and commitment to highlight America’s water issues,” Copeny said. “I’m hopeful that this inspires others to fight for what’s right, even when no one else is looking. ”

Copeny joins previous recipients which include Trae The Truth and Killer Mike.

She first wrote to President Barack Obama in March 2016 challenging him to visit the city to experience the water crisis first-hand.

The letter to the President prompted him to visit Flint and survey the devastation for himself, which ultimately led to approval of $ 100 million dollars in federal relief funds for the city.

Her work in the Flint community and successful crowdfunding campaigns have allowed her to raise more than $ 250,000 and distribute more than one million bottles of water to city residents.

RELATED: ‘Little Miss Flint’ gives away 1,000 backpacks to local children

To date, she has raised more than $ 600,000 for her Flint Kids projects. These projects include giving out more than 17,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, hosting community movie screenings, arranging annual holiday events to deliver thousands of toys and countless other events centered around children in the city.

Some of the highlights of Copeny’s work include:

  • Copeny partnered with water filter company Hydroviv to donate and distribute her very own high-capacity lead removal filters to families and child-centric organizations in Flint. Every dollar raised for her filter provides the equivalent of 160 bottles of water. To date, she has raised $ 627K for her filters and has shipped them out all over the United States.
  • She was named to the US Delegation to the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, making her the youngest delegate ever selected.
  • Copeny is also a Youth Ambassador to the Women’s March on Washington, served as chair of the board of directors for Kid Box in 2019, and is an active member of 18 x Eighteen, an initiative to get young people to vote once they turn 18. She is a member of the Michigan Department of Education Student Anti-racism advisory board and a member of the Flint Youth Justice League, an advisory board through Michigan State University to advise on issues related to the kids of Flint.
  • Outside of her work in activism and giving back, Copeny is a varsity cheerleader and is competing for Miss Michigan Teen USA in a few weeks.

Hosted by music mogul and global superstar Sean “DIDDY” Combs, the evening will The BBMAs will broadcast live coast-to-coast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 15 at 8 pm ET on NBC and will stream live on Peacock.

As previously announced, the 2022 Billboard Music Awards will honor Mary J. Blige with the Icon Award. Blige, along with Burna Boy, Latto, Florence + The Machine, Maxwell, Megan Thee Stallion, Morgan Wallen, Rauw Alejandro, Red Hot Chili Peppers , and Silk Sonic are set to perform that night.

Read more from The Flint Journal:

This 11-year-old Michigan boy with autism is a’walking success story’

’40 under 40′ seeks nominations for rising leaders, entrepreneurs and influencers in Flint area

‘Thank you Flint’: Popular Vietnamese restaurant MaMang closing after nearly a decade

Six Flint heroines find a home in City Hall

Colorful array of murals bring beauty to Michigan’s downtowns

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