I keep seeing people being described in the media as a Community Leader. It’s usually after they’re arrested or gunned down. I keep asking myself what qualifies a person as a Community Leader?
What is it about leading a community that makes one a target for law enforcement or leads nefarious characters to buss “corn” in yuh waist? I mean all you’re doing is representing your community right? All community leaders try to do is make their community a better place right?
Well in my community, and I limit that term to just my street, I would say that our community leaders are a young man of my age and his elderly moms. They lead our community in organizing the neighborhood watch, they update us on changes in the garbage pickup schedule, they remind us of planned T&TEC outages, they gather funds to pay for improvements on the street and they even recognize when certain residents have personal or professional accomplishments.
True in the early days they didn’t strictly enforced the rules regarding only community business being shared in the Whatsapp group and moms was a key violator. In the early days we used to get plenty “good morning”, “happy independence” and “thanks for sharing” messages. They’ve gotten much better over time. Now the most offensive messages we get are random offers from a neighbor to come collect excess zaboca free of charge. The nerve!!
However, I don’t think any of that should make them become targets. I think my confusion lies in the difference between a Community Leader and being a leader in the community.
My padna and his moms, who both look after the neighborhood’s interest and well being, are definitely leaders in the community. On the other hand I think the Community Leader in the area is the man in charge of the local chapter of youths with no purpose or future. I have no idea who that particular bloke is in my area because unlike some people I don’t find those personalities interesting.
There are people out here who know who is the boss in every area, who warring with whom and why. They know enough to write a book but not enough to make a report but who could blame them? It’s not like they would get any protection from the authorities or survive long enough to see justice prevail.
Anyway, for now, I think I’m going to be grateful that I know a few leaders in my community and ignore when the media glorifies these other apparent miscreants as Community Leaders.