Earlier this week, New Black Panther Party leader Quanell X found himself in the media once again. Quanell X has had a very interesting relationship with the media and law enforcement. He is also a very polarizing figure with actions spanning the spectrum from getting a killer to admit his crimes, to blaming an eleven year old girl for her rape. The media has criticized him, the police have praised him but this time, it was the community allegedly speaking out against the controversial figure.
Several are complaining that Quanell X took money from them for services that were either never rendered or unsatisfactory. While this raises questions about his authenticity as a viable community leader, we must also question what we require from our leaders and what we owe them in return.
Quanell X is perhaps best known for his ability to bring media attention to a case, putting investigators under a microscope in hopes of bringing justice. While his tactics and sometimes his morals may be questioned, he is undoubtedly a powerful orator who has produced results, most notably in bringing a killer to justice and in getting a company to change its harmful marketing tactics.
Now complaints have been filed by citizens who claim Quanell X asked them for cash in return for his community activism efforts. Other well known community leaders have spoken out against this practice stating that funding for such efforts normally comes in the form of grants and donations. Quanell X has stated that accepting government funding flies in the face of his beliefs and practices and as such he has to ask the people he represents and supports for cash in order to cover costs. This may or may not be true.
But the issue makes me wonder what we owe those who stand up for us. Should we compensate our community leaders in cash? If not, how do we compensate them for the things that they provide for us? Should Quanell X and other leaders take money from us under any circumstance?