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2009 Columns
Quarter 4: October thru December ~ Columns #39 - #51

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December 30, 2009 Column #51: Historic Success Story: Integration of the Minneapolis Fire Dept

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

On December 26, 2009, a group of dedicated men and women met at Famous Dave’s, uptown, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Black Fire Fighters Association.

We join them in celebrating the historic achievement of the Minneapolis Fire Department: nationally recognized for its diversity and being the most integrated department in the United States, an achievement of individuals who knew not to wait for City Hall.

Their strong leadership opened the doors not only to people of color but also to women and Native Americans. Together, they held the line and did not compromise justice.

Court records show that prior to 1972, the last Black fire fighter served in the department in 1928. From 1928 to 1972, Minneapolis had a lily white Fire Department.

I salute the courageous acts of those Black applicants and the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis that joined in the tremendous, four year battle that lasted until Federal judge Earl Larson broke the strangle hold of segregation in the Minneapolis Fire Department. I can still remember the joy I felt in April of 1972, when the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Larson’s ruling.

Yet the city then, as now, fought equal access and opportunity. As the City of Minneapolis kept violating the consent decree, a special Committee of Ten was imposed by the Federal Court to monitor and to report directly to the Federal Court, finally enabling, as a result of the Committee of Ten, to achieve its goal of significant integration of the department.

I know, because, to paraphrase Walter Cronkite: I was there. For 20 years, I chaired the Committee of 10 appointed by the Federal Court.

As today, the City never stopped violating, forcing the late Federal Judge Robert Renner to twice impose sanctions on the city in the early 1990s that totaled $1 million for violating the Consent Decree. When the question was raised about also putting the Police Department under a consent decree, the MPD said it was not necessary, that it would follow the law. It is its violations and subsequent law suits that have resulted in recent calls for placing the MPD under a Federal receivership.

Compare the difference in departments. The Minneapolis Fire Dept, half the size of the Police Department, has twice as many sworn fire fighters of color. The Minneapolis Fire Department, by percentage, is 19% African Americans, the largest percentage in any Fire Department of the United States, and twice that of the real percentage of people of color in the Police Department (despite the MPD’s false reports to the contrary).

The recent appointment of African American Alex Jackson as Chief of the Minneapolis Fire Department is a clear testament to the department and to its individual members staying the course, fighting the good fight, and keeping the doors of opportunity open for all. I am honored by Chief Jackson recognizing the work of our Committee of Ten in his recent acceptance speech.

The Black Fire Fighters Association has effectively gone about its business, protecting their membership and keeping to their vision of diversity and inclusion.

I would remiss not to recognize a legend in the struggle for integration of the Fire Department, John Griffin. John departed this life at too early an age a couple of years ago, but his strength and his vision and his commitment to the integration of the department remains legendary.

City Hall is notorious for putting in place statues of legends that look like they came from Stockholm. It is unfortunate that one has not been erected to John Griffen as a testimony to his legacy. We await the kind of recognition owed the Black Fire Fighters Association and their legacy of accomplishment. These men and women achieved something that is rare in City Government today, especially in Minneapolis, and that is true diversity, or integration or whatever you choose to call it.

Having always had a couple of Black police officers since 1928, it is ironic today, at the conclusion of this decade, that there are now more African American firefighters than African American police officers, despite the MFD being half the size of the MPD.

With the loss of the recent Police Academy class of 19, including at least 9 candidates of color (laid off after being on the job less than a week), we see diversity sliding backwards. Strength in one department, weakness in the other.

Enjoy the holidays and develop a positive vision for the coming decade.

Fire chief nominee is longtime integration activist
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak nominated Alex Jackson, who, with committee approval, will become the city's first black to hold the job.
By STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
Last update: June 10, 2008 - 12:25 AM

Posted 12/24/09 9:30 AM

December 23, 2009 Column #50: Urban League ‘Gateway’ passes the buck for leadership failure. What ‘stakeholders’ approved this assault on front-line workers?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

The Minneapolis Urban League met December 11, 2009, to unveil a new reorganization plan called “Gateway to Opportunity.” In doing so, it ushered in another Day of Infamy, another sneak attack on the Black community.

The MUL leadership pays for its mistakes with the livelihood of its workers: 11 let go last month, 10 more this month. The MUL president claims this “Opportunity” plan was made in consultation with staff, board, community and corporate stakeholders.

Were these “stakeholders” aware they were giving their blessing to an “Opportunity” plan that opened the exit gate to the lives and futures of MUL employees? Isn’t this the question to ask of MUL stakeholders who identify themselves as “captains of industry,” to see how comfortable and satisfied they are passing the buck for their failure to oversee the operations of the MUL?

The “Gateway to Opportunity” plan creates a new chief program officer, a new chief fund development officer, and a social engagement specialist to whom the remaining employees will now have to apply for “new” jobs under “new” directors. Doesn’t this mean they too will be replaced, just as those dispersed out of Hollman were told they could come back?

Don’t most planners with these kinds of plans already know what friends and buddies they want to be in the “new” positions tailored to fit them, in this case for program areas they are calling “work force solutions,” “college preparedness,” “care development,” “wealth creation,” and “health and wellness”?

The heart of the plan calls for the MUL to be “certified as HUD home ownership consultant.” Isn’t this another HUD deal bringing money to a minority organization’s staff but not to the community?

A friend told me he called the “Gateway to Opportunity” document a “Manifesto of Termination” not only for the staff, but also for the MUL itself. Regardless of the debate, speculation, and hand wringing, isn’t this true?

This “Gateway to Opportunity” plan is a plan of attack not just on staff and the MUL itself, but on the soul of the community as well. How many more times will another reorganization be trotted out by “leaders” to cover their mistakes? So I ask again, who were the stakeholders who met and reviewed the plan and signed off on this act of infamy?

As I have reported before, the MUL claims to be a membership organization (solicits dues, gives out membership cards). So, when did the meeting of the membership take place to approve this? What date, time and place? What agenda? What was the vote on what question? When did they ask our opinions, verbally or in writing?

These are questions all organizations must answer. Why does the MUL pick a “Gateway to Opportunity” plan that is their escape path paved with the livelihood of its staff and their families?

Think of it, my friends: The MUL president sends an open letter to staff, talks of wonderful things to come, and then, oh, by the way, the majority of you won’t have your jobs after January 8, but you can reapply to see if you can get back through the new “Gateway.”

It appears to me that the jobs of the workers are being used to pay for the leaders’ inability to do theirs. The bright blanket of “Gateway” is being used to cover up leaders’ mistakes once again by making canon fodder of their front-line troops.

We in Black America were raised to show concern for our fellow human beings when we got out from under the plantation whip that would then become the hallmark of our greatness and our legacy as a people, in sharp contrast to those whose legacy was their shame for how they treated us.

But the letter of Dec. 11, 2009, to the Urban League staff shows the organization has become no different than those who make the communities they are supposed to serve pay for their mistakes. In this case, we have an organization that pretends to own its building but does not; an organization without money that wants to control a bank; an organization comfortable with making the lives of its people uncomfortable and miserable.

R.T. Rybak said eight years ago that he would, by any means, change the leadership direction of Blacks in Minneapolis. I’ve always felt he meant getting us back to being in our place. I suspect that this is just one more step to bring to heel a once-proud people.

Stay tuned.

Originally Posted 12/23/09
Posted 12/30/09

December 16, 2009 Column #49: No justice yet for Quincy Smith. One year later, his family still awaits some resolution

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Justice has not yet been rendered in the December 9, 2008, death of the unarmed Quincy Smith at the hands of police. The facts provided by the authorities themselves confirm the continued injustice, as I predicted in our columns in this newspaper of December 17, 2008, February 4, 2009, and April 4, 2009.  

Justice has not yet been rendered in the December 9, 2008 death of the unarmed Quincy Smith at the hands of police. The facts provided by the authorities themselves confirm the continued injustice, as I predicted in our columns in this newspaper of December 17, 2008, February 4, 2009, and April 4, 2009.

[See December 17 2008, Brutality continues against Black males in Minneapolis: Smith's death by police tasers brings his appeal to a tragic halt.
February 4, 2009, Homicide of Quincy Smith warrants federal inquiry, and April 8, 2009 Dominic, Fong and Quincy: the death of three men of color at the hands of the MPD].

On that night in the 1000 block of Knox Avenue North, seven police officers, responding to a domestic call, confronted Mr. Smith. Two said they saw him with a rifle. And yet, as at least five officers beat the five-foot-six-inch Mr. Smith to the ground, there was no rifle in play as at least five officers tasered him eight times.

According to the police report and news accounts, a rifle was not found until 16 hours later. It has yet to be linked to Mr. Smith.

The result? Fear in the Black community for its welfare; fear of Black men among White community leaders, including police; fear of the White public and Black community officials and leaders to upset the status quo, meaning fear of justice itself.

Justice? At least two of the officers had been defendants in a lawsuit brought by Quincy Smith, an outgrowth of a 2006 incident in which he was beaten and tasered by police for jaywalking in downtown Minneapolis. As he lay dying December 9, 2008, the Minnesota Court of Appeals had already reinstated his lawsuit, reversing a White Hennepin County District Court judge.  

Thus, on that night of his death, at least two of those police officers knew, as they used deadly force on Quincy Smith, that they were also settling a legal matter against their legal interests.  

Why the fear of justice? Why has the family been told from December 10, 2008, to last week that the rifle was still being examined?

Most disturbing is the question of why has there been an absence of a Hennepin County Grand Jury examination of the circumstances of his death and the circumstances that occurred prior to and after his death?

For 12 months, the county attorney and the police department have been telling the family of Quincy Smith that the investigation is still on going. Really? To believe that is to accept the disdain that is held for Black people in their pursuit of justice.

Twelve months to empanel a grand jury? How much longer must justice wait?

Twelve months to recover DNA evidence? How much longer must justice wait?

Twelve months to discover where the rifle came from and who it belonged to prior to December 9, 2008? How much longer must justice wait?

And we have to wonder why the Smith family's attorneys have not yet taken the following actions:

  1. The attorney for Quincy Smith and his infant son should have filed motions under Minnesota State Law to have compelled the county attorney to show cause as to why they should not have been cited, as they should be forced to show cause in the obstruction and interference with the investigation.
  2. Next, the attorneys for Quincy Smith should have filed suit in the federal district court, suing the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County for the violation of the civil rights of Quincy Smith in the matter of his death on December 9, 2008.

Let us be clear on these legal actions: One deals with the intentional obstruction by State authorities surrounding the death of Quincy Smith. The second deals with legal relief for the heirs of Quincy Smith in the violation of his civil rights by state authorities. His attorneys fear the City. The City fears the clear evidence.

Had Quincy Smith been White and the police officers involved been Black, these legal approaches would have been initiated immediately. What happened to Quincy Smith, and what is happening to his family, and, by extension what is happening to the Black community as a result, cries out for justice and resolution

The election theme of 2008 was that change is a-coming. It appears that in the matter of Quincy Smith no change has taken place and it's business as usual, a sad commentary on the quest for justice.

As I said in my columns in February, Cecil Newman, Nellie Stone Johnson and Hubert Humphrey would expect nothing less than the rendering of justice in the matter of Quincy Smith's death. Thurgood Marshall reminds us of the establishment's fear, as "Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process."

Stay tuned.

Posted Dec 15, 2009, 9:23 p.m.

December 9, 2009 Column #48: Local 'leaders' fail to confront decline in Black judges

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

That few know the name L. Howard Bennett is an example of how today's self-proclaimed Black leaders have taken their eyes off the prize. They stand by meekly as more Blacks are blocked (judges not appointed), displaced from their homes (Hollman/Heritage Park), and denied their future (pushed out of school, denied jobs).  

In 1960, when L. Howard Bennett became the first African American (or Negro, as we were referred to in those days) on the Municipal Court in Minneapolis, appointed by then-Democratic Gov. Carl Rolgoff, it was proclaimed an historic moment in the civil rights struggle. When we won't remember men like L. Howard Bennett, we deny what is possible.  

Unfortunately, a year later, when it was necessary for Judge Bennett to stand for election, he became the first incumbent in 30 years to be defeated. Race was a factor.

A new civil rights history chapter was closed, putting it on hold nearly 20 years until William Poston was appointed to the bench of the Hennepin District Court. (The Municipal Court, by legislative act, had been folded into the District Court). As a former prosecutor, Judge Poston served with distinction, bringing a familiarity and understanding of Minnesota's judiciary system to the bench.  

Ten years later, Democratic Governor Rudy Perpich made history by appointing four African Americans to the District Court bench: Judge Harry Crump, Judge Michael Davis, Judge LeJune Lang, and Judge Pam Alexander.  

It seemed that at long last a page in history was turned in the struggle to integrate the judiciary system of Minnesota. Alan Page then made history when he won election as associate justice of the Minnesota State Supreme Court, going against the "tradition" that held one had to be appointed first.

Judge Toussaint was later appointed to the Appellate Court of Minnesota and now serves as its chief judge.

The legacy continued when, after less than a decade on the bench, Judge Michael Davis was appointed to the federal bench in the Federal District of Minnesota, becoming, a year ago, the chief judge for the Federal District of Minnesota. Black Minnesotans began to feel confident that judicial doors would again open for qualified Black Minnesotans.  

But then the older historical pattern reemerged. Judge Alexander, after being nominated by the late Senator Paul Wellstone, was denied consideration, waiting for two years before her nomination was then withdrawn.  

I watch closely from this corner. In the last 10 years, only two African Americans have been appointed to the Hennepin County District bench, leaving these numbers: only two African Americans on the District Court Bench in Hennepin County, only one in Anoka County, only one in Dakota County, and only two in Ramsey County.

What is so troubling is that civil rights leaders of all persuasions decline to discuss this historical circumstance.

The African American population of Minnesota has grown. Yet, despite many in the legal profession with credentials, advanced degrees and experience, fewer are appointed members of the judiciary to serve as judges in the District, Appellate and State Supreme Courts, or to join the legendary Michael Davis on the Federal Court and beyond.

Why don't we hear statements of concern from civil rights "leaders" or the Black lawyers association? These are sensitive discussions. Too many indicate they do not want to fracture their opportunity for success as they seek financially lucrative positions with prestigious White law firms.

That may be all well and good. But remembering L. Howard Bennett reminds us that taking our eyes off the prize of full inclusion in the judicial system has consequences for communities of color.

Later generations need to understand the pride felt by the Black community when L. Howard Bennett broke through the mahogany ceiling, followed by Poston, Crump, Davis, Lang, Alexander and Page.

Once again the dream and recognition of excellence is deferred and put on hold in the state of Hubert Humphrey, Cecil Newman, Nellie Stone Johnson and others, reflecting the silent submission by those who claim to lead and represent and even dream on behalf of the Black masses, and yet do not.

Think about it my friends: two Blacks in 10 years, when 20 years earlier it was five in one year (four appointed in one year by a governor who believed in inclusion, and one elected). This is why we speak of Hollman, a real-world example and symbol of the dispersal of Black people to dilute their political potential.

We will continue to explore this dispersal/dilution theme. Stay tuned.

Ron hosts "Black Focus" on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, he continues his "watchdog" role for Minneapolis. Order his books at; hear his readings and read his solution papers and "web log" at

NOTE: for more background, see "The Role of Black Organizations in the Minneapolis Story...NAACP, Urban League, Civil Rights Commission...Now Part of the Problem Rather Than the Solution," From Chapter 14 of The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes

January 7, 2009 Column #1: Nonprofits, foundations face funding crisis. Are contingency plans in place to safeguard communities of color?

Originally posted 12/09/09
Posted 12/15/09, 9:00 p.m.

December 2, 2009 Column #47: Police Chief Tim Dolan: The reappointment process begins. Also: Vikings: Asked to leave or asked to stay?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

As previously reported in this column, the process to reappoint Chief Tim Dolan to another three-year term as Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) chief has officially begun, despite the chief hitting choppy water a week and a half ago when he “forgot” to inform the City Council there was an additional $4 million debt that had been incurred within the MPD budget, which is quite an “oversight” by the chief, who could no longer keep from telling the state of the MPD war chest, an act the Star Tribune reported caused much anger and frustration in council members.

It doesn’t matter, and not just because the chief’s reappointment will not be voted on by this current council; but it will come in January when the new council is seated, but mainly because he would still have been voted in, in this business-as-usual city, regardless of the budget fiasco. No strong opposition will be mounted, just a vote to reappoint for another three years.

The good news for Timmy is that his strongest supporters on the council are still in place, led by Council President Barb Johnson, who herself may face a tough uphill battle to retain her position as president. It appears that Council Members Liz Glidden of the eigth Ward and Betsy Hodges of the 13th Ward are equally ambitious regarding ascending the steps of City power.

A disturbing aspect emerging out of the chief’s budget forecast shortfall is a reduction in recruitment, especially of new officers of color. It appears the long-standing and questionable figure of 18 percent sworn minority officers will be in jeopardy.
However, we have business as usual in the African American community as well, such that the silence coming from the African American community spokes-organizations will ensure the decline of African American officers in the department, which is being viewed by some as something that will not only happen but whose time has come.

The phrase, “time has come” means that diversity is no longer important or relevant to so-called Black leaders, as we move toward a Whiter police department (see my August 15, 2007 column on “The Bleaching of the Minneapolis Police Department”).

The MPD still has a troubling number of racially charged lawsuits pending (which will add more debt as earlier trial awards have done). It would be interesting in the coming months to see what the chief’s strategy will be for worsening relationships between the MPD and the communities of color, now that he has succeeded in scuttling much of the work of the five-year PCRC (Police Community Relations Council).

Despite all the talk of “plans” for the Black community, we have seen no plan for improving relations with the Black community, as the chief is under no pressure to do so, exposing once again the lie of the image of Minneapolis as a liberal and sensitive city when it comes to police-community relations. That leaves us to another questioning of Timmy’s statistics.

We are constantly being told that crime is down in Minneapolis, yet the court calendars do not reflect that, and the incarceration rate certainly does not reflect that, and so there is obviously some inconsistency contained within the declaration on one hand that crime is down and the significant increase in the incarceration rates on the other hand, particularly of African Americans.

We are told juvenile crime is down, yet again the juvenile court calendars and petitions to certify juveniles as adults for the purpose of prosecution is at an all-time high. What is consistent? Inconsistencies.

Rest assured that as we move toward public hearings in either December of January, none of these questions in all probability will be raised or addressed. And so it is business as usual, with no inquiry, no challenge, and no change in the relationship between the MPD and, specifically, the African American community. Instead, under Tim Dolan we will have more of Tim’s brand of brutality and recriminations, abuses and disenfranchisement that will lead to more lawsuits under Tim’s watch and more MPD debt from suits to be charged to taxpayers, as usual.

Think what the lawsuit funds could have done to educate our students to prepare them for jobs rather than denying education and homes (recall the dispersing of Hollman/Heritage Park residents). When will the city stand for liberty and justice for all?

Stay tuned.

Vikings: stay or leave?

When will the “roll call” (see my web page) of those who say the Vikings should leave say they should stay? See my book “The Minneapolis Story”, Chapter 15: The Story of the Punting of the Vikings: Say Goodbye to the Vikings: They Are Leaving: That is the Plan)? Also see Star Tribune writer Jay Weiner’s book Stadium Games: Fifty Years of Big League Greed and Bush League Boondoggles; which also reports the “powers” saying the Vikings have to leave.

Orginally posted 12/2/09
Posted 12/11/09

November 25, 2009 Column #46: Black bank proposed for the Northside community

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Is it a new beginning or a repeat of embarrassing history?

These are tough economic times for opening new banks, new credit unions, or new savings and loans, particularly in any economically depressed community. And so I watched with great interest upon hearing that a new community bank will be chartered in North Minneapolis.

I was surprised and delighted to learn, when I saw the documentation, that this would be a Black bank in the Black community, a bank that the prospectus indicates will "allow Northside residents to become bankable and, as the bank increases its capacity, residents would gain access to additional financial resources." What could be more welcome?

Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial is the source of unquestionable community enthusiasm, as they have offered a $500,000 challenge grant to the Urban League of Minneapolis. For this to become reality, the Urban League must match the $500,000 with its investors.

I have learned that the project is in the feasibility stage, and that Thrivent is also supporting a consultant to assist in the development of the project in order to help ensure the raising of capital for the bank.  

Like me, I'm sure alert readers are asking the obvious key question: How much capital above the $1 million ($500,000 plus $500,000) must be raised to guarantee the solvency of this bank when it opens its doors? $10 million? More? Less?

I look forward to the public information meetings introducing the project and its investors, to learn of their fiduciary strength and fiduciary reputations.

Certainly the organizers are doing everything they can to show the community has rallied behind this concept and embraces the creation of this new bank. What discerning readers and I want to know is what is in The Plan to prevent a repeat of the history of the last Black bank in North Minneapolis.

In the 1970s, the last time the Black community of the Twin Cities was told they controlled and owned a Black bank, it turned out to be quite an embarrassment when it was uncovered that the Black bank on Plymouth Avenue was neither Black-owned nor Black-controlled, but loaned Black money to White borrowers before it went under.  

Thus, I'm sure we all want to know more about this new bank's capitalization and want to hear what steps will be taken to ensure that those who put their life savings into the trusted hands of the bank's investors will have those savings protected by more than just the FDIC.

The community survey is being done by citizens being paid $60 to do so, as they were doing the evening of November 19 at 2210 Oliver Avenue North.

The MUL states that "the creation of this bank and the relationships that will develop with the public and private sectors, will offer a great opportunity to develop a home ownership model together." But in light of a very troubling and fragile housing market, not to mention what has taken place in the sub-prime market, what will state and federal regulators announce they will do to make sure that all of the needed safeguards are in place and that all the right questions and answers are addressed?

As a member of the Minneapolis Urban League, another question arises, that about membership liability. As I review the documentation, I am not able to determine when the membership reviewed and approved The Plan by vote of the membership. Do we members have a fiduciary responsibility/liability in the creation of this new bank if something goes wrong?

It is one thing to pay people to undertake a survey and saying this is the best idea since buttermilk. It is another to ask the membership of the Urban League to take the consequences for the MUL investors if this financial bubble should pop and deflate what appears to be a dream.  

All members of the community are also eager to hear from our elected officials about their commitment to be among the first depositors in the new bank, to the tune of millions of dollars each from the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, and certainly from the federal government, just as they now all do with White banks.

And, word is eagerly awaited about such deposit commitments from corporate Minnesota of some of their monies to be placed in the new bank. It is only then, when all of these players commit and deposit, that you can talk in terms of the rejuvenation of a economically long-suppressed community.

Stay tuned as the wait begins to hear about the final plans.  

Originally Posted: November 25, 2009
Posted December 2, 2009, 7:15 a.m.

November 19, 2009 Column #45: Tragedy at Ft. Hood includes evidence of ongoing bigotry on both sides — Ft Hood, Texas, Nov 5, 2009, Another American Tragedy

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

November 5, 2009, is another day that will live in infamy. Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 and wounded 29, sending a shockwave through America’s armed forces and through the American people they have sworn to protect, as American warriors were attacked by one of their own.

We will long discuss this American tragedy. Many will mourn the dead, the wounded, and the lives of their loved ones that have been shattered.

It was in this dark hour that we again came to appreciate the strength and dignity of this nation’s president and commander in chief, who brought his strength to the victims’ loved ones and to the rest of us across this nation. He then visited the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington Cemetery on Veterans’ Day, honoring all in our history who have died for our country, and meeting with relatives of those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The strength he showed in both places was sorely needed. His leadership was evident, as within hours of the shootings at Ft. Hood, Texas, his calmness was soothing a nation seeking answers to troubling questions.

As troubled as Major Hasan’s mind was, so too were media analyses, as explanations ranged from the single act of a mind that snapped to an act that was the result of a massive and sinister Islamic conspiracy of terrorism.

And how do we explain why the military said Major Hasan had been killed only to reveal that he was alive eight hours after the gunfire ended at Fort Hood? And why did it take so long for American media to get the facts right?

It was not until 8:07 pm CST that General Cohen, commander at Ft. Hood, held a news briefing and indicated that the shooter, Hasan, was actually still alive. Prior to that announcement, it was disturbing to watch America’s major media outlets speculate that this was a great Islamic conspiracy and that America was under attack.

How ironic it was that something gone so tragically wrong came from the mind of a man whose educational discipline was the analysis of the mind, and yet no one in the weeks and days prior to November 5 raised questions. Indeed, he had just been promoted.

It is why special note is taken that on Tuesday, the day before Veterans Day, an American president showed the leadership and sense of purpose that have become the hallmark and legend of that office, following in the footsteps of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. This president showed character of leadership and provided comfort to a nation needing it.

The investigation will probably go on for a number of years. If Hasan decides to talk and mounts a defense in military court, it will raise serious questions regarding earlier statements that he felt disrespected as both a Muslim and as a major in the United States Army.

It will be easy for some to dismiss this as rhetoric and hyperbole. But, to a larger world beyond these shores that will be watching, they will see substance in what is being said.

In this post-election time of Barack Obama, too many are quick to maintain that not only have intolerance, bigotry and racism been erased, but that all doors are accessible, and that there is respect accorded to people of color regardless of their race or religion. Tragically, this is still not the case, as documented weekly in this column.

America’s sons and daughters of the military must be afforded a safe and unthreatening environment upon their return to their home bases, as they rejoin their families and loved ones before another tour of duty puts them in harm’s way once again. That security was shattered at Ft. Hood, Texas. Now, as a nation, we are a little bit less secure in our sense of safety for the strongest of our warriors.

We American people now offer prayers for those who have fallen, for those whose lives have been shattered, and for that person who felt the need to display his anger against the nation he had once sworn to serve and protect. Doing so will be consistent with the message delivered by a great American president.

As Colin Powell has said, “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Stay tuned.

Posted November 19, 2009, 5:55 pm.

November 11, 2009 Column #44: Social agencies face deep financial cuts. Community tastes the bitter fruits of failed leadership.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

A year ago in this column (1-7-09), I suggested and warned, based on long experience, that nonprofit social agencies needed to prepare plans of action for dealing with coming cutbacks and layoffs ("Foundations face funding crisis. Are contingency plans in place to safeguard communities of color?"). Our warning went unheeded.

In my column six months later, (6-17-09), I raised the question again and even made suggestions in this column regarding plans, but again they were unheeded.

Because our community organizations plan for their own internal operations while our communities outside suffer, showing themselves to be leadership jobs programs rather than community service programs, funding sources are looking elsewhere to put their money. Efforts must be doubled now to quickly draw up workable plans to meet community needs, not just organizational needs.

Absent workable plans, our communities risk being paralyzed by the sudden reduction in services. When will the leadership of our organizations respond to grave conditions and troubles in the community instead of to their internal struggles?

How can anyone be surprised by the September 17, 2009, headline in this paper: "St. Paul Urban League: a shadow of its former self"? For a year, this column has reported the programmatic collapse of the St. Paul Urban League, predicting the consequences.

And so, I was not surprised when I became aware of the October 2009 minutes of the Minneapolis Urban League Board meeting that reported the end of the $250,000 line item in their budget from The United Way of the Greater Twin Cities.

What is troubling about this scenario is the colossal act of miscommunication by the Minneapolis Urban League, for in May of this year it reported to its members that the $250,000 had been secured. These kinds of administrative failures destroy both their credibility and relationships with funding agencies, as well as reducing the trust of the community it claims to serve.

As I pre-warned in this column, the absence of a plan of action guarantees irreversible consequences, the true mark of the failure to serve our community. There can be no excuse for the failure to plan and the failure to perform in the best interest of the community.

In the September 17, 2009, edition of this paper, on page seven, read closely the compelling statement at the end of the article made by Sgt. Ray Jefferson, a board member of the St. Paul Urban League and a dedicated and decorated police officer. He provides an analysis of what happens when an agency, particularly in a community of color, loses the trust and support of one of its prime funding sources.

Mayor R.T. Rybak, last week, won a third term as mayor of the city. He said early in his first term that he and his administration would guarantee the changing of the face of Black leadership in Minneapolis. I spoke of it in my columns. Our leaders caved in. Our community is now bearing the bitter fruits.

So, who will the community rely on for raising up our future leaders? This White administration that disperses our people, dilutes our influence, and reduces access to the one key to the success of our kids, education? Traditional African American agencies that have joined the mayor? Or a new generation of leaders who will once again keep the community's eyes on the prize?

This administration and its relationship with the funding sources will have a lot to say about who gets paid to be the next generation of leadership in the traditional African American community organizations. Will the community battle this, or just keep saying, "Yassah, boss"? Who will the talented tenth of the new generation serve, the community or the bosses?

As long as the community relies on the bosses, the severe budget cuts also mean cuts in raising future leadership in the African American community.

It is my sincere hope that all in the community, individuals and organizations, will come together to develop plans that will be good for all, neighborhood and city, Black and white, poor and middle class.

Stay tuned.

Election update

Regarding R.T. Rybak's reelection: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported November 4 that the third four-year term was won by 30,000 votes, 74 percent of the votes cast. In the city council race, though some media indicate confusion, both Don Samuels in the Fifth and Barb Johnson in the Fourth have been returned to office.

Chief Tim Dolan will be confirmed by the city council for a second three-year term. And, for the first time in 30 years, there will be only one African American on the Minneapolis City Council.

So, it is business as usual in the ongoing relationship between city hall and the traditional African American community organizations. So much for progress and change.

Stay tuned.

Originally Posted: 11-11-09
Posted: 12-2-09, 2:10 p.m.

November 4, 2009 Column #43: The stadiums are done. Where is the Inclusion Compliance Report?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Over the last four years, we have written about the preparation and then construction of the Gophers football stadium and the Twins baseball stadium, asking for the plan for inclusion of Black contractors and workers to meet Minneapolis employment compliance laws in the construction of these stadiums (note that the Twins stadium at the edge of North Minneapolis is another project enabled by dispersing the Blacks who lived there). "Jobs" was a chapter in our Minneapolis Story book of 2002.

In our columns and blogs and at planning meetings, we warned that the continued refusal to develop and put in place a plan for inclusion would make it easier for both projects to exclude Black contractors, workers and vendors.

The University of Minnesota was honest and forthright from day one, doing what most Minnesota liberal, progressive, institutions do: let people assume they have a Plan, as, instead, they quietly set no goals and entertain no discussions about the importance of inclusion, as they go about their business as usual: not not including Blacks. Many forget that Mortenson built both the stadiums of this billion dollar construction package.

Moral leadership is required, not just laws on paper. In the case of the Twins, the State legislature required the creation of The Ballpark Authority oversight committee. In 2007, 8 and 9, we wrote about its failure to meet its responsibility. To cover itself, the ballpark authority entered into a $100,000 contract with the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department to monitor compliance, meaning to lie for them.

The exclusion "policy" continued as the Civil Rights Department refused to make reports on inclusion diversity to the Minneapolis City Council (no report has been made since July 2008, as an examination of the minutes of the Ball Park Authority shows).

In May of 2009, this columnist met with Council Member Benson, DFL, 11 th Ward. I asked about the required quarterly reports on diversity and minority and small biz participation on the Twins Stadium. Needless to say, no such reports had been presented. We assume none exist.

We not only encourage State Representative Bobbie Joe Champion to make inquiry into the story of excluding diversity at the Twins stadiums, we also encourage the state representative to inquire of the University of Minnesota and its Board of Regents to seek a report on their TCF stadium. There is a desperate need to officially expose how few African Americas worked on these projects as contractors or subcontractors or workers or vendors.

Would I be too far a field to say that practically none participated in the construction of the TCF stadium, and that any documents stating otherwise have been doctored? A lot of revenue has flowed in and out of that stadium during its first season. A stadium enabled by tax payers needs to have included all tax payers, not just white ones.

The bottom line in this American Tragedy on race and access is that the African American community was/is treated like a bride jilted on her wedding day. Some of our Black leaders claim 25% of the work force on the Twins stadium was African American. I'd like to see those numbers certified through a state audit, and see work defined as long term, not temporary workers for a day or week counted as if they were long term workers.

This should not be hard to do. As the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department received $100,000 to monitor how well the franchise of those of color under the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance was protected. such a report should be possible before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Only dishonesty would create resistance to opening the books to the state auditor to certify the numbers and clarify any possible ambiguity or controversy. How else do we expose the fairy tale that a lot of African Americans were employed long term on both of these facilities over the past two and a half years?

Constantly gnawing at the back of my mind is the statement we reported a little over two and a half years ago, of Michael Jordan, a Black man, Director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, saying the city can achieve its minority compliance goals on any project without having to hire a single Black person.

Do you wonder, my friends, why, as contracts were awarded, enormous amounts of money was paid out, and work was done, that, with the exception of this paper, our so-called Black leadership silently stood by as our Black community was easily excluded from participation or involvement in these projects?

Stay tuned.

Posted November 4, 2009, 10:10 pm.

October 28, 2009 Column #42: Mayor nominates his chief "partner" for another term. Black organizations cling to status quo

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

The 10-21-09 Star Tribune headline affirmed our anticipation of Mayor R.T. Rybak's recommendation: "Police Chief Dolan backed for new term" as Minneapolis chief of police.

The mayor picked a time that will place most of the process of reappointment after the upcoming election. Only Councilmember Ralph Remington, who stood courageously in opposition to Dolan's first appointment three years ago, will oppose.

The Strib reports Rybak's "satisfaction" with his "strong partnership" with Dolan, who is "implementing" the mayor's "vision." As one expert states, "The most important thing a mayor can do is pick a good police chief."

The Strib reminds us that this vision includes "institutional racism," including the case of "high-ranking black officers in a lawsuit, which the city settled for $740,000." And whatever the real number regarding "people of color" in the department, the reality remains that this mayor and chief conspired against its own Black officers, applauding their demotion and shredding their careers.

The honor roll of those Black officers includes Harris, Banam, Edwards, Arodondo and Davis, all African Americans demoted and transferred out in 2007. And then there was the demise of Officer Charlie Adams, Officer Hamilton, and, of course, the celebrated sting operation against Officer Mike Roberts.

This is not the legacy we want in our police department.

Where is the organized opposition in the Black community from the NAACP, Urban League, and ministerial leadership groups? Why do they fear change, especially of the status quo, when this department under the leadership of this mayor and chief has become legendary for carrying out its acts of brutality as part of the violation of the civil rights of the African American community?

Under this mayor and chief, the frightening casualty list among Blacks has also been costly to the White taxpayers. The investigations, allegations, and significant damages paid shed light on the mismanagement of the department and its purposeful failure to protect the rights of people of color.

For five years we served on the Police Community Relations Council (PCRC) with this chief. He did everything that he could to defeat all that was the purpose of the Federal Mediation Agreement. It was a titanic battle every step of the way, yet the mayor and the council applauded his resistance and his sabotage. One has to assume that his reappointment is a part of his reward.

The brutality on the streets of Minneapolis against African Americans sanctioned by this mayor and chief will continue to create a concern and everlasting fear for the next three years in those Blacks and Whites who oppose. If Dolan is reappointed, the next three years will be worse than these past three.

That which should be expected -- communities concerned, leadership outraged, organized protest, and comprehensive testimony --- will not take place. Fear causes business as usual. The public hearing on Dolan's reappointment will take place before the public safety committee of Councilman Don Samuels, Democrat, 5th Ward, the same Don Samuels that the Strib story shows more concerned about the embarrassment caused by police by being caught than about the police brutality against his own people.

The process is such that the public will not be allowed to address the executive committee, and after the public hearing the public will not be allowed to address the city council regarding Dolan's reappointment.

Will the Star Tribune again be complicit, alleging wonderful things this chief and department have accomplished as it explains away the misconduct and the millions of dollars in damages that have been paid out as a part of the mismanagement of this big city police department's relations with its people of color?

How will the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board, advocates of progressive policies, justify endorsing the regressive reappointment of Chief Tim Dolan? We see it as a sad commentary and a dark day when such disrespect and disenfranchisement of a community that has been so disenfranchised and of a race of people that has been so disrespected is met with a deafening silence as so-called "leaders" put the importance of their organizations ahead of the importance of the people of the Black community.

This corner and column will not be silent.

Gandhi in India, Martin Luther King in our own civil rights struggles, Pope John Paul II with the oppressed of Eastern Europe led their movements to success with "Be not afraid." Why are our leaders afraid?

Stay tuned.

Posted October 28, 20090, 12:43 am

October 21, 2009 Column #41: From Hollman to Heritage Park: How well we remember. The Northside project is a model for displacing Blacks from American cities.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

One of the least talked about cultural and racial issues in Minneapolis has been Hollman, now referred to as Heritage Park, in North Minneapolis. DFL co-founder Nellie Stone Johnson called it “one of the biggest battles against the treachery and deception of the NAACP and the Urban League,” with “the liberals selling out the only Black land we have ever known in Minneapolis to a bunch of development interests, with Black leaders…and our community organizations falling into line.” It has become a model for American cities.

Promised they could come back, only 20 percent of former Hollman residents have. Pushed out to the suburbs, our young people are pushed out of school as Whites dilute our political and economic power and potential, and as the NAACP, Urban League and preachers quietly consent.

We covered this in depth in our book in 2002 and in numerous columns since then (see list in our “Solutions” section of our web page). The Black community was told that Hollman would change for the better the plight of the African American community.

It hasn’t. Yet Black leadership remains quiet.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in studies and construction took place. Lots of folks gained employment, but not Black workers.

Lots of contracts were awarded, but not to Black contractors. Courageous Black contractor Boone Construction and Trucking sued in federal court, but he was stabbed in the back by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.

Forced out of both public and private housing, Black citizens were dispersed throughout the metropolitan area. Some have been pushed as far away as Anoka County, Fridley, Blaine, and the City of Anoka, while others were pushed out to Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, New Hope, Robbinsdale, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley and Osseo.

These suburbs then brought police expert Chuck Wexler back to Minnesota (for $242,000) to develop a crime fighting “program” in at least eight separate northern suburbs with an influx of Black citizens.

With the exception of this newspaper and this column, you see no human interest stories in the White media about Hollman’s displaced Black citizens. Black leadership in Minneapolis does not talk about it. In fact, it would be difficult now for many people to tell you who Hollman was.

Hollman was a human being with the courage to stand up and fight back. In our next column, we’ll talk about who she was and about the silence of so-called Black leaders. By 1991-1993, the Minneapolis NAACP was the recipient of a rather large settlement to look after the residents of public housing, to make sure their rights were protected and they were returned.

Other organizations — the Minneapolis Urban League, The Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, and churches — all announced that they would protect these residents. A few citizens tried to stop the demolition with their theme: “Do right by our people.” They got publicity, but not success.

Too few helped. Protests and complaints were filed with the federal government, but to no avail. The fix was in.

Do you realize, my friends, that it has been almost 10 years since the demolition began?

The name reference — changed to Heritage Park from Hollman by then-city council president Jackie Cherryhomes — was to help blot out that piece of history from memory. She supported McCormick Baron of St. Louis as the developer, who promised a wonderland in North Minneapolis for Blacks as he and his associates fled with millions of dollars.

We also wrote often of the toxins imbedded in the ground Hollman/Heritage Park is built upon. Our current Congressperson, Keith Ellison, made quite a name for himself as a state legislator working with the Environment Legal Defense Fund, defending and probing violations of environmental laws in Hollman/Heritage Park. That didn’t stop it, either.

This columnist well remembers the first-floor meeting room of the Urban League packed to capacity as folks talked about toxins and the kind of health problems that go with it. The promises to protect the community and to make appropriate inquiries into the violation of federal environmental laws went unkept.

Back to McCormick Baron: How well we remember the meetings in the Harrison neighborhood as Blacks and Whites were being told of the wonderful job opportunities that would come with this new venture.

Black leaders were given free trips to places like Atlanta, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco in return for endorsing everything McCormick Baron said. Our kids get the devastation of suspensions and expulsions. If you have forgotten or doubt this, review the stories we wrote for four years on the broken promises of Hollman.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his books at; hear his readings and read his solution papers and “web log” at www.The

NOTE: I was going to talk about Obama's Peace Prize. Note how the lost prize of Minneapolis, HJollman-Heritage Park, is another reason why we need the kind of peace the President talks about.

Posted 10-21-09, 8:22p.m.

October 14, 2009 Column #40: This time one of the good guys won

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

In the first week of October 2009, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the 2008 conviction of Sgt. Joey Lash, one of only two Blacks in the Minneapolis Park Police Department. If ever a journalist felt good about calling attention to a conspiracy, we do in this case.

We covered this travesty of justice in our column of January 31, 2007, when we wrote about and called attention to the conspiracy by law enforcement to destroy this African American peace officer. We were not sure if justice would be served, but it was clear that justice was needed on behalf of Sgt. Joey Lash.

So, every once in a while the good guys win one in Minnesota. It is rare for Blacks, who the system has targeted for injustice, to win, especially a Black with an authority position such as a police officer. This column has reported systematic retaliation against those who expose corruption.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune gave us vivid and graphic stories of Sgt. Lash's so-called criminal activities on the front pages, whereas the overturning of his conviction was buried October 7, 2009, on page B8, right next to a football cartoon.

In January 31, 2006, we wrote of how despite the fact that the police department found "valid the allegations and evidence submitted by Sergeant Lash, all documents and evidence have been lost or cannot be found." The jury dismissed the felony charges but convicted him of the nebulous "public corruption."

But Sgt. Joey Lash fought to prove his innocence. He showed tenaciousness and courage, staying the course against this miscarriage of justice that was clearly driven by institutional and personal racism.

We can only hope that Sgt. Joey Lash, whose life and career were turned upside down and ripped apart, will be made whole again by a decision of the park board to mete out fairness and justice. But one of the things we knew, on January 31, 2007, which we attempted to convey to other Black police officers, was that this was just one of the first shots across their bow.

We reported both before and after that this was part of an elaborate plan, a conspiracy to destroy their ranks and their reputations. Some did not believe that. They now suffer the consequences of their non-belief.

Sgt. Joey Lash believed, acted upon his belief, and fought his lonely battle for redemption and for the truth. For that, many Black Minnesotans and all who say they believe in justice should be forever grateful to this Black American.

Let him continue to stay strong, and hopefully others will stay strong and vigilant, too.

U of M research center up and running

If this were 1933 Nazi Germany, National Socialism (as well as the National Socialist Movement Party currently in the U.S.A.) would be extremely proud of the research center along the 2100 block of Plymouth Avenue North.

For these parties, the aim was/is the "union of all Whites" and the "persecution of minorities [and] undesirables." That they do so across the street from the Minneapolis Urban League shows how hapless the MUL and Minneapolis Black leaders have become.

The research center, which was the source of much controversy three years ago, bought off the opposition and silenced the critics (Black and White). They have now unveiled experimental medicine and research that we see as experiments against the interest and safety of the African American community. Period.

In fact, demonstrating the African American community's lack of alertness is the fact that 95 percent of the workforce was White, the philosophy being that African Americans don't need employment. All they need to be are guinea pigs for the purpose of research.

It is a sad day when no one seems to believe or care about The Plan. Why are we the only ones concerned, the only ones that see how proud the architects of National Socialism in 1933 Germany would be?

There is a big sign outside of the research center that says, "The Property of the University of Minnesota." If ever there was a statement representing the White Gospel, it is the statement that we are property of the University of Minnesota and its genetic scientists.

Don't be angry at the messenger. Be concerned about The Plan, and the workings and the thinking of those who are the architects of genocide, nullification and reversal. Smile, everybody. The camera of history is capturing you.

Posted October 14, 2009, 7:05 p.m.

October 7, 2009 Column #39: City violence spikes. Nellie Stone Johnson’s solutions (and ours): education, jobs, housing.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

On Sunday afternoon, September 27, 2009, violence once again exploded along Broadway in North Minneapolis. A 19-year-old African American was gunned down in broad daylight in front of a Burger King. Over the next four hours, hundreds of citizens gathered, and, even with police present, young men fought pitched battles along Broadway and its side streets.

Police were also hard pressed to maintain control as gunmen exchanged gunfire along Lowry Avenue around 4 pm on Sunday. Gunfire was heard all through the remainder of the evening, including shots fired on at least two homes in North Minneapolis.

On Monday, September 28, a 42-year-old African American was shot and killed inside a car wash just off of Marshall Street in Northeast Minneapolis as gunmen continued to exchange gunfire at different locations in North Minneapolis.

On Tuesday the 29th, repeated exchanges of gunfire were heard throughout North Minneapolis as the life of a 33-year-old African American in a pawn shop in Richfield was taken. On Tuesday night, hit-and-run gun battles continued despite efforts by nontraditional negotiators to end the violence.

On Wednesday the 30th, gun battles continued to rage across North Minneapolis as gunmen fired from moving vehiclesa at other moving vehicles as well as at pedestrians.

This is not Beirut in the 1980s or Baghdad in 2005, but our own Twin Cities in 2009. Most disturbing is this: How is it, in Minneapolis, that so many school-aged young people are involved in running battles during school hours? Do administrators within the public school system not see the pattern, or is it they don’t care?

Henry High School has been the site of turmoil since school opened. Dunwoody is already getting ready to readjust its presence inside North High School — rumors say a 20 percent across-the-board cut of staff and salaried employees will be initiated.

This comes two weeks after the school district announced school closings that will severely impact the entire district, but specifically North Minneapolis. At what point, “community leaders,” do you voice concern about young school-aged African American boys and girls who see no schools for them to help them prepare for the future?

Do we wait until we get the kind of disaster now facing the Chicago Public Schools, where already 37 African American school-aged students have become homicide victims in Chicago this year, with the latest a Black honor student beaten to death in the middle of the street?

Proportionately, Minneapolis is moving along that same dangerous path.
All summer long, as campaign 2009 unfolds, the mayor, other elected public officials, and the chief of police have talked about how crime and violence is down, that the problem has been solved, that it is a new day, when the fact of the matter is that the numbers are being “massaged.” Home invasions become burglaries. Assaults become small confrontations.

An example of not being sure of the homicide numbers is the example of two individuals found in an apartment on Oak Grove (both dead for quite some time) initially identified as a double homicide, then changed to homicide/suicide, and finally to death by natural causes.

It is quite clear as we move toward the November 2009 elections that somebody is pulling somebody’s leg. Rest assured that there is always a comfort level within city government as long as the victims are people of color (and, preferably, African American).

Think about our question: Why are so many young, school-aged Black children on the streets of this city during school hours involved in violent actions (shootings, assaults, home invasions, robberies, and whatever else)?
Well-funded public institutions like school districts, municipalities, and state government have to be held accountable. We must stop listening to their reassuring fairy tales.

Held accountable? This was the observation and sentiment of a large crowd of people September 27 who were watching this act of carnage. Officials and leaders need to reflect and give respect to what is said about the city they live in and its institutions, which are there to protect, serve and preserve lives.

The legacy of Election ’09 seems to be “Let them eat cake and die” in the African American communities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Any plan must include equal access and equal opportunity for education, jobs, housing.

Questions for the “Big 7” (DFL, NAACP, Urban League, mayor, city council, governor, state legislature) regarding Nellie Stone Johnson’s “no education, no jobs, no housing”: When will they stop closing schools for Blacks (North High) while opening schools for Whites? When will they stop allowing noncompliance in hiring/contracting? When will they stop displacing Blacks for Whites in South and North Minneapolis/Hollman?

Update on Michael Keefe (see our 2007 and 2008 columns): demoted to sergeant. No news coverage.

Stay tuned.

Posted 10-7-09, 1:38 a.m.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and for the columns. Please cite for blog entries and solution papers.

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