As news stories and first-hand accounts grow of people not getting the aid they need in the wake of Katrina, is it time for independent groups to start organizing accountability teams?
Institute friend Joan Browning writes from West Virginia with some interesting history:
After Hurricane Camille in 1969, a coalition of Atlanta-based groups -- including the National Urban League that sent me -- sent teams to Mississippi and Louisiana to monitor relief, especially that of the American Red Cross. We knew that black people, poor and middle class alike, were likely to not receive proper sustenance and services. Sounds like the same old race-based relief delivery is still going on today. Is anybody independently monitoring this time?
ACORN organizing chief Wade Rathke, who's from and was based in New Orleans, has been calling for the formation of an organiztaion of evacuees, who would naturally play a role in pressuring for such accountability. (You can read more about ACORN here, and donate to their Hurricane response efforts here.)
But it will also take outside watchdog groups to help ensure the money is getting to those who need it the most.