NAACP Says It’s Clear Economics Played Part in Katrina Response
NAACP President Bruce Gordon says it’s clear the economic status of those left stranded on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans played a part in the federal government’s response to the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims.
But Gordon said now is not the time for “finger-pointing” at the Bush administration. That can wait, he said, until the mostly poor and Black victims are given the care they desperately need.
“Right now, the NAACP is in what I call a lifesaving mode. We are not in a finger-pointing mode and until every life has been stabilized and every life has been saved, we will devote all of our energies for that purpose,” Gordon said.
Gordon and Mississippi NAACP officials spoke at a news conference in Jackson this weekend hours after Bush administration officials met with Black leaders in Washington about allegations that indifference to Black suffering slowed the response.
Gordon said the NAACP would monitor how federal officials provide relief in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast while offering assistance to displaced residents and those in need.
“Once we are satisfied that some level of stabilization has occurred, then we are going to figure out what happened,” Gordon said. “Because are there discrepancies? Yes.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and some Black elected officials have said what happened is that racial injustice was at the root of the disaster response.
“It just didn’t hit the mark,” Gordon said of the disaster’s response. “It is clear. It is very clear. I don’t need to comment on it.”
Gordon said he watched the federal government’s reaction to the 9-11 tragedy and, “I want to see the same kind of response.”
Derrick Johnson, president of NAACP in Mississippi, said the group is sending a truckload of supplies to the coast. Johnson said the NAACP will establish an office in one of the hardest hit communities in Biloxi to offer assistance to residents there.
“If they are any discrepancies, we want to make sure that if there are individuals in need that we supply as much support as possible,” Johnson said.
— Associated Press
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