A Story of Redemption in Flint
Directed by filmmaker Dana Romanoff and edited by Blue Chalk Media, “Noah” tells the story of Noah Patton, a young man from Flint, Michigan who was going down a one-way street backward. Backward past abandoned homes and empty schools and the sounds of bullets echoing louder than children’s laughter. With a gun on his hip and always in search of the next lick, he had many enemies and was living on borrowed time.
Flint is a city built on the American Dream. With the disappearance of industry, it became impoverished and neglected, and so did its residents. The water crisis is just one more tragedy piled upon a mound of oppression.
But Flint is a city of survivors. And like the phoenix, Noah and his city are rising from the ashes. Noah returned to his deep-rooted faith in God, and with the help of a pastor, he is turning his life around and helping to positively shape the future of his community.
This isn’t a new story, but with talk of ravaged inner cities requiring a single-minded law and order response, it is an important one.
“You know you can’t change the world. You got to start with yourself.” – Noah.
Noah stands with friends and fellow church goers in front of the abandoned home where he grew up and where his mom shot herself in Flint, Michigan. Flint was built on the American Dream and at one point was a desirable place to live but now the city is known for being one of the most violent cities in America and having toxic water. Photo by Amy Marquis.
Noah lived in this abandoned house without electricity, heat or running water and knowing what it felt like to be hungry. 40% of Flint’s population is living in poverty.
Noah Jr. looks out his bedroom window in the back of the house where he lives with his father and two siblings. “We don’t have ice cream trucks in our neighborhood we have state police officers; that’s the only cherry we get.” – Noah.
“I was ready to die in the streets and I was hoping it would come from a bullet from the back so I couldn’t see it so I couldn’t try to retaliate. My state of mind at that time was I’d never get a job, I never be a productive member of society. If I’m gonna thug I’m gonna thug all the way through with it.” – Noah.
Corandis Jenkins, a member of Joy Tabernacle Church and the lawn care crew cleaning up the city, was shot and killed shortly after filming at the age of 27. “In the streets if you make it to see 25 you an O.G. [OLD GANGSTER]” – Noah.
Noah grew up studying the bible so when he decided to turn his life around he sought out Pastor R. Sherman McCathern at Joy Tabernacle Church. He is now a minister at the church and dedicates himself to his three children, his church and mentoring other young men in his community.
“My job is to teach my boys, my homies, how to fish and let them know you are somebody even though the world counts you out God counts you in.” – Noah
Noah’s youngest daughter Mersedes, 3, has lead poisoning. “They call it poison for a reason. They stopped our kids from even a chance of being top-notch members of society even if they wanted to.” – Noah.
“We all need somebody to believe in us. We’re all part of a whole.” – Pastor R. Sherman McCathern, Joy Tabernacle Church.
“If there’s one thing that people should know about Flint is that we’ve been survivors since day one. I want Flint to come back . . . It’s time to wake up. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to take our city back before somebody takes it from us.” – Noah.
Noah did not have a father figure growing up and is dedicated to being there for his kids. They start each morning and end each day with prayer.
Noah prepares for Sunday church where he is a minister at Joy Tabernacle Church.
Noah’s story isn’t unique, but with talk of ravaged inner cities requiring a single-minded law and order response, it is an important one. As Noah says: “When you put the man together the world comes together. Instead of being a part of the problem, we’re part of the solution, a permanent part of the solution.”
These images are from the new film “Noah” by Dana Romanoff and edited by Blue Chalk Media.