Helping those with the Most at Stake to Hold our Government Accountable
The Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is committed to preventing the recurrence of tragedies like the Flint water crisis and other failures where public officials do not pay attention to the on-the-ground results of policies they created. The water crisis revealed an oversight and accountability gap that exists across the policy landscape in which the concerns and fundamental rights of marginalized communities can easily be ignored, and residents lack the resources and platforms to effectively share how policies affect their lives and make their voices heard. The Levin Center is piloting in Flint, Michigan a new approach to oversight and accountability we call People-Centered Oversight (“PCO”) that is designed to close that gap.
Working with residents and community organizations and leaders in Flint, we are designing, testing, and evaluating strategies and technologies that empower people to share their lived experience with government programs, and to provide direct data input and feedback to NGOs, lawmakers, and the media about the real-world impacts of government policies.
Leveraging Community and Technology Between Elections
Our goal is to bring innovative technology and community organizing into the work of oversight, government transparency, and accountability. Through community workshops designed to identify issues and elevate the power of individual storytelling, we are seeking to enliven and democratize legislative oversight by giving people, especially those from marginalized communities, the opportunity to be heard and have their voices amplified.
Our pilot project is being led by Chia Morgan and Jasmine McKenney, two experienced community organizers from Flint who bring a wealth of talent, expertise, and passion to empowering their neighbors to communicate their “groundtruths” on vital issues and programs. The Levin Center is partnering with the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and others to capture and amplify the words, pictures, and videos of Flint community members. This work, which is in part made possible through the support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, will evolve over the coming year. We will provide updates as the pilot project progresses.
We have teamed up with local news outlets Flintside and Flint Beat for a story series that aims to address the issues most affecting the Flint community. Part of our People-Centered Oversight project, the series of community stories will bring citizens’ voices into the legislative oversight process to elevate people’s stories and concerns and hold government accountable.
Read FlintSide’s first article introducing our new partnership!
To stay up to date with our project, join the people-centered oversight Facebook group.