Activist Quanell X and a group of about 18 people gathered at the Beaumont ISD administration building early Wednesday afternoon, June 18, to rally for ousted BISD purchasing agent Naomi Lawrence-Lee and to call for BISD superintendent Timothy Chargois’ resignation.
“As a young African-American leader, I have to say, the superintendent here in Beaumont ISD has to go. He’s not qualified to continue leading this school district,” Quanell X said. “I have to tell the truth. It hurts me to say that because we have fought so hard to put black people in positions of leadership. But when you take that position, you can’t think about yourself. Think about the children first, the teachers second and you and your administrative surrounding cast secondly.”
After admonishing the superintendent and calling for him to resign, Quanell X told those gathered he is determined to see a member of the black community take over the position, no matter what.
“Don’t tell us that there are not some qualified African-Americans. I don’t give a damn if you’ve got to go on a nationwide search,” Quanell X said. “Do not tell us there are not qualified brothers and sisters who look like these children that can come in and help fix this problem.”
In support of Lawrence-Lee, who was fired from BISD in April amidst allegations of financial misdeeds, Quanell X said, “She has not been charged. She has not been convicted of anything.”
Lawrence-Lee thanked those gathered at the event supporting her, touting herself as “a godly woman of integrity.” In spite of her high self-praise, Lawrence-Lee’s dismissal from BISD — the district investigated allegations that Lawrence-Lee submitted falsified extra work duty placement sheets to claim district funds in addition to her regular salary for work not provided — this was not the first incident that could call her integrity into question. Before she was hired by the district, she was reportedly forced to leave her position as Jefferson County Purchasing Agent when she was caught using county-owned equipment to print brochures for her husband’s company.
Quanell X, the leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston, is no stranger to controversy himself. In November 2011, a Houston news station reported on his propensity to charge the very people he professes to support. In the report from KHOU, two people are quoted as saying Quanell X requested money from them in order to help them in their times of need, one of whom purportedly paid $9,000. The report asserts about half a dozen people around Southeast Texas had similar complaints against him.
When asked at the June 18 rally whether or not he was paid to come to Beaumont, Quanell X said, “You white folks don’t pay me, so I can say whatever I need to say and how it needs to be said.”
His racially divisive remarks obviously offended some present, and one woman in the crowd loudly expressed her chagrin, telling X, “I am not ‘you white people.’”
Quanell X also commented on BISD electrician Calvin Walker calling his “brother” Walker’s conviction a “setup” in spite of his admission that he falsified invoices submitted to the school district for payment and a court’s order forcing him to forfeit close to $2 million in ill-gotten funds.