by Jessica Nicholson
Miko Marks gives a musical voice to those in her hometown that have been impacted by years of economic hardships, job losses and unsafe drinking water in her song “We Are Here.”
Marks began writing the song back in 2018, with Steve Wyreman and Justin Phipps, her collaborators on her first album in 13 years, Our Country.
The video, directed by Randolph Infinger and William Finau, opens with varying images of clean water, interspersed with footage of the community in Flint, Michigan, as well as Marks’ current residence in California. Marks sings of the travesties faced by the residents in her hometown of Flint—from unemployment to the water crisis of 2014, when the city began taking water from the Flint River for residents to drink, without first properly treating the water.
No safe haven, none for us to find/Not a bed at the shelter, can’t afford to rent a room/Where’s our relief and is it comin’ soon?, she sings, her voice tinged with pain and ultimately the hope of a better day to come.
Marks recently told CMT about the making of the video:
What do you remember most about the day/night you shot this video?
Parts of the video were shot by members of my family back in Flint, Michigan. It was really sweet to have them involved. We were also able to get footage from Oakland, California. I remember shooting at a local park. There were children playing, in a city (within a city—Piedmont, California) in the background without a care in the world, yet I was singing a song about a forgotten city with hardships that are continuing to be as the forefront of their lives.
How does the video bring your song to life?
The video connects the fabric of my life, then and now, which reminds me of where I’m from. It shows generations of my family and the strength of the community. Obviously, so much focus is on water. All of the shots of clean water, in so many ways we take for granted, but people back home don’t have that, so that contrast brings it to life.
What message do you hope your fans take away from the video?
I hope the viewers can connect with the important message of help and healing. The struggles that the people of Flint are facing are going on across the country. I hope the listeners leave with a call to action on their part.
How did it feel to see the finished product for the first time?
I felt a sense of relief and hope in highlighting the struggle in my hometown. I feel like the people of Flint have been forgotten and their struggle with poisoned water and economic disparity should be a topic of discussion. How do we help and move forward in helping our fellow Americans? Let’s find a solution.