Sunday, August 2, 2009

Questioning Black Leadership: While Barb’s In Charge -- Should You Watch Your Wallet?

By Dr. Debbie Stroman

As a leadership scholar and proud member of the Black Greek Nation, I find it quite appropriate to comment on the sad state of affairs regarding the recently filed Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority lawsuit. President Barbara McKinzie and the executive director are being charged by eight sorority members of financial impropriety to the extent they want them removed immediately from leadership. Since the case has not been heard in a court of law, one should only share opinions (humor permitted) on the specifics of the allegations. However, since this latest announcement seems to suggest a pattern of inadequate leadership in some of our most cherished Black non-profit organizations, I write because I am very concerned about why our community continues to cling on to leaders who repeatedly demonstrate an inability to be accountable, effective and in touch with today’s reality. A few years ago another Barbara, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s president Barbara Moore, was charged with similar activities and the smoke has yet to clear on the internal damages inflicted on the organization. Moore did finally admit to using the sorority’s funds for her own needs though. Both sororities are purposed as charitable organizations to foster sisterly love and service to others yet find themselves dedicating dollars and time to legal matters and media hysteria. Sisters are blogging and posting vitriolic comments about who’s to blame, why the organizations are even relevant and necessary, other sorority options and even thoughts of why the lawsuit doesn’t even matter. If only we can generate this type of intense dialogue to find practical solutions to important matters like our educational needs in the Black community.

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