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Solution Paper #32b, posted August 27, 2009
Originally published in November 2002,
in The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,
by Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen


Chapter 17

The Positive Future Possibilities for Minneapolis:

Envisioning the Dream, Sustaining the Vision:

Not Asking Permission, Making No Apologies For Being Free

As Martin Luther King, Jr., said at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1963, in his "I Have a Dream Speech:"

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

This can be also be done by the YESes and NOs wanted and not wanted.   My goal is a set of YESes and NOs that provides equal access and equal opportunity for all.   We need to combine our reason and our resources to calculate what happens with our policies and actions, to ensure there is more meaning than pain resulting from them, and to regularly evaluate results on this basis, making changes when the balance tips toward more pain than meaning.   We need to work together to develop a calculus that will enable us to judge whether or not public and private policies are facilitating equal access and equal opportunity in education, housing, political participation and economic development (jobs, living wages, and entrepreneurial growth across racial and gender lines), within the context of freedom and liberty for all.  

That is the Minneapolis story I want to see in the near future.   It is the Minneapolis story I want to see become the story of everyone, a story seen not just through my eyes but seen through the eyes of everyone else and experienced in their lives everyday.  

Finally, let us revisit the notion of "talking the walk" and "walking the talk."   What is the "talk" to be walked?   This is not a "how to" book.   But I have listed a number of things that can be used to evaluate any existing or proposed "how to" in order to better evaluate whether to continue or terminate a program, whether to start or re-work a program before beginning it.   Walking the talk also means evaluating whether the results of programs in education, housing, and jobs, among others, are working.   For those who want to maintain the status quo, the YESes and NOs would be reversed.   For those who want to change the status quo in directions I have outlined in this book, then the YESes and NOs are, as we used to say, "right on."   I have suggested several in my book that I believe should be applied in Minneapolis (but elsewhere also, as in here, there, and everywhere).   Here are the major ones:

Chapter 5 suggests the policies for a "To Do" list of YESes and NOs for the future that everyone can work together to bring about.   The first set of YESSES, simply put, centers on policies that would result in positive outcomes regarding education, children, and families:

Next are those policies that would result in positive outcomes for transportation, energy, and the environment:

Finally, these policies would result in positive outcomes for the economy, jobs, wages, and business:

Chapter 5 also has a corresponding list to consider for our collective NOs .   The first set of NOs centers on policies that say NO to those outcomes that are negative for education, children, and families:

Then there are policies to say NO to that result in negative outcomes for transportation, energy, and the environment:

Finally, there are policies to say NO to that result in negative outcomes for the economy, jobs, wages, and business:

Finally, let us revisit the notion of "talking the walk" and "walking the talk."   What is the "talk" to be walked?   Several outlines have been suggested.   Here I put them all together.

Interlude 8 suggests that A National Commission of Reconciliation and Reparations should be established to investigate and work out the payments that would be involved for the land and wealth stolen from Blacks.   This basis for reparations is also stated in Chapters 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, and the Preface.

Chapter 9 offers a list of steps to take to correct oppression of Black people in going before various official bodies, agencies, and investigations:

  1. Certainly try to get the numbers, but have them certified; don't take their word for it.
  2. Join with those who would unite and demand a Federal grand jury investigation.
  3. Present the wealth of information already available to City Hall to let them know you know what you are talking about.
  4. Demand, politely or through legal injunction, to get the city to state why they allow projects to continue that are not in compliance.
  5. Demand, politely or through legal injunction, to get the city to state why they hire contractors with records of not being in compliance.
  6. Continue to hold public forums.
  7. Continue to come up with plans of action to foster success.
  8. Continue to agree on who will carry out the various steps of the plan and then do so.
  9. Stop being patient with practices that have gone on since the 1960s.

The end of Chapter 12 suggests 8 remedies for the redistricting problem .

  1. That the information presented [in Chapters 12 and 13] be investigated for possible illegalities and corruption.
  2. That the information presented [in Chapters 12 and 13] by investigated on justice and fairness grounds.
  3. That the redistricting process be re- done.

  4. That the submitted redistricting map list all assumptions used to develop the map, as well as empirical data backing the se assumptions and their attendant influence on the re-drawn ward lines.

  5. That the R edistricting C ommission be reconstituted to include at least one person from each ward and reflect proportion ally the results of the most re cent election, now and for all future redistricting following census reports.

  6. That the corruption charges against Joe Biernet be made public .

  7. That t h e City Attorney be instructed to report why no investigation has been conducted on the missing Jackie Cherryhomes files and be instructed to commence i mmediately upon such an investigation.

  8. How will you, dear reader, use the information in this book?   Will your children and grandchildren tell you how proud they are of your having done something about what you read here or that they are ashamed of you for not doing anything about it?  

From Chapter 14:   develop a set of "Sullivan Principles for Minneapolis ."   Hold a series of Black on Black and Black on White discussions on just how such principles should read.   

Chapter 16, and Interlude 16, as well as Chapter 17 and this Conclusion, all open with propositions and theses of Peter Berger which should also be part of our calculus of deciding what public policies to advocate and support.  

Chapter 16 also lists the three things to avoid, according to the McCone Commission, after the Watts Riots in L.A., if urban unrest is to be avoided:

Chapter 16 also has a list of things to avoid, taken from the Kerner Commission after the riots of 1968:  

Both commissions concluded

poverty , segregation , lack of educational and employment opportunities , widespread perceptions of police abuse , and unequal consumer services as the principal grievances which led to the civil disturbances of the 1960's.

What is needed to fix the broken wheels of Minneapolis?   Let me offer my constant refrain as a suggestion and reminder:   Society's stability depends on accessible and accountable government and the rule of law applied evenly to all.  

Prosperity depends on a market economy that encourages private enterpri s e (incentives) and that allows for private property .   Thus, c ontinuity with the best of the past and present combined with recipes and plans for the future offers a chance at s ecurity for the future.   We know that order (stability) is the fundamental mandate of human societies, no matter how small or large , and that it is helped by regularity (schedules) .   Isn't our task to achieve order (the great political science question) that allows the sovereignty of both state and people (the great question of liberty) ?   To achieve this, more power must devolve to individuals, not just to states and cities.

Despite much that has happened that has not been good for Blacks in this country (all Interludes except 5 and 7), much good has happened to many Blacks in this country (Interludes 5 and 7).   But remember my goal:   equal access, equal opportunity for all, not just those in power.   The inner city has intentionally been left behind.   We still have much work to do for those in the inner city.   Our individual and collective futures depends on it.

Many work full time in low paying jobs in the United States that still translate as poverty.   This raises the question of the minimum wage and what is now called the "living wage."   The Republican Eisenhower administration in the 1950s pushed for the first minimum wage on moral grounds , that no one working should have to earn less than what it cost to raise a family in this country.   It passed, but was awfully low.   It was the Republican President Nixon who proposed a floor below which no family would be allowed to fall, but the Democrats defeated it.   These were not bad ideas, as they were considered "good for the economy."   But Democrats, who controlled Congress, voted against these measures for the working poor, meaning people who are poor even though they were working.   I now believe they did so because they wanted Blacks beholden to them, having convinced Blacks that only government run by Democrats would provide more for them, and would if they would just vote for Democrats.   The evidence shows otherwise.

In my view, there is something wrong with a system that has people working full-time at wages that will not sustain a family; I don't mind the rich getting rich but not on the backs of their workers.   And I also mind when they don't pay a living wage.   Certainly, no one can make a moral argument for the pay and life style of the CEOs who took millions in value while collapsing their employees' pension funds, laying them off from work, and keeping the wages low of those left with a job.   That is not capitalism.   That is robber baronism.   Capitalism is supposed to be about incentives.   To pay senior executives bonuses and stock options when their company loses money is merely exercising the power of robber baron pirates.   To hold people accountable (checks and balances) and to provide incentives is the American Way.   To have no accountability and to have legislative-established loopholes for campaign contributors to enable them to enrich themselves at the expense of their companies, shareholders, and employees, and tax receipts is just as heinous as violent crime.   Calling it "white collar" crime makes it sound benign.   But it is malignant to our economy and society and should be labeled for the evil it is and punished for the evil that it is.

This does more than raise the philosophical question of fairness, as it points up the significance and importance of the "ladder of mobility" for those not fortunate enough to be born rich, and the question of whether people in poverty will be allowed to climb up or purposefully be "kept in their place."   It has been my contention that Minneapolis has consciously, intentionally, and purposefully prevented people when they tried, and thus they have slowly killed the incentive of many young Black men in the inner city to try, and thus preventing them from succeeding, hoping they'll descend into drugs and crime so they can be jailed and their inner city space be made available to the White gentrifiers.   This is being aided and abetted by the partnership of the DFL and the Black organizations that sold out their memberships, the local branches of the NAACP and the Urban League (Chapter 14).

The ladder of social mobility contains five rungs , three traditional ones, and two new to modern times.   The traditional ways of getting out of or avoiding poverty were   through marriage, being born into a powerful family, or through military conquest or service.   The two new modern ones are education, and learning how to present oneself in different personal and professional situations.

In terms of education, think of our earlier discussion of high-tech immigrants from poor countries being hired for our high-tech companies because we are not turning out enough of our own.   And of course we are not.   How could we when so many of our 4 th graders, especially minority 4 th graders, are unable to read?   It is no wonder we have to import talent.   The only possible conclusion, as Democrats and teachers' unions control education in this country, is that when push comes to shove, they care more about their jobs and retirement than they do about the learning of the students, coming up with many excuses as to why it's the students' or the parents' fault.   And as Blacks vote for Democrats anyway, there is no incentive for the Democrats to do anything for minorities in the inner cities.   This holds especially true for Minneapolis.  

It is not possible for a family of four to live on today's minimum wage.   And it is not possible to earn more than minimum wage without an education and without knowing how to comport oneself.  

Now I admit that fairness is a tough issue.   But let us look at the facts.   They will help us deal better with our negative or false emotions.   Many successful young people of the past two decades have succppeeded because of what an article several years ago called "The Yuppies' Dirty Little Secret," which is that they had parents with enough extra money that they could help them out.   This "dirty little secret" reflects more than the difference between the rich and the poor.   It is the difference between the poor and any who have discretionary income, and thus the yuppies' dirty little secret is that their parents are affluent enough or that they have parents who, though not quite affluent, used what extra they had to help them.   The kids of all of these thus had and have access to money of their parents that many workers do not have, especially the poor.   Also, their parents were able to live in good neighborhoods that had good schools so that these kids would get the best education available that wasn't in a private school.    That secret enabled them to go to the right schools, have the right experiences, meet the right people, and get the right training and contacts.   Their key was the money of their parents, not their own, and the money the taxpayers spent on their schools and their opportunities, schools and opportunities not available to the poor in general and in particular poor Blacks.   It is difficult for Blacks to accumulate wealth in this fashion when they are subjected to the treatment reported in the Interludes.

This has been going on for a number of generations, certainly since World War II.   For this reason, it is said, depending upon who you read, that the current group of Baby Boomers will inherit somewhere between 3 and 7 trillion dollars, most of it in homes, but some, of course, in stocks and bonds and money market accounts, and other instruments.   This is what separates the Blacks from the Whites.   There will be no such handing over of property and negotiables worth trillions to Blacks.   Remember how the Whites have taken the wealth and property of Blacks (see Interlude 8).   In other words, the poor minorities trapped in the inner cities don't have parental affluence to back them up.   When Jane Fonda told her gym floor cleaner she should exercise and get in shape, she was told:   "Miz Fonda, if you had two jobs like mine and kids to raise with no help, you'd look like me too."  

A U.S. Senator in the mid-1960s attempted to live with his family of four for a week at the poverty level and could not, although that did not change anything.   In the late-1960s, Dillon Ripley, then Secretary of the Smithsonian, wanted, during Dr. King's poverty march, to put a poverty village on the grounds of the Smithsonian on the Mall.   The Democrats who controlled Congress were appalled and vetoed it.   It would be too embarrassing to their policies.   But they haven't yet done much to allow real poor people to get a good education in order to get good jobs in order to earn money to preclude such poverty.

Minneapolis has to decide what it wants its story to be for the 21 st century.   I know what I want it to be, and I know what I will continue to work for.   In my eyes, people ought to have a living wage, an amount that allows them to support their family, a wage based on the moral high ground of Eisenhower and the Nixon floor below which they are not allowed to fall.

Establishing a livable wage would have a profound impact on welfare as well, as it would provide more than welfare pays without any of the strings, reducing both the impulse to go on welfare as well as encouraging parents making babies to stay together.   Thus, the living wage could be purposefully set above welfare levels as a further incentive.    The best minds in Minneapolis should look at the question with the intention of solving it, not just containing it.

It could cause an influx of people wanting to work for the higher wage, but these would all be self-selecting folks with skills and a work ethic, which would be good for Minneapolis.   But will the DFL and the Black organizations go along with it, as they seek not to empower and liberate people but to subjugate them so they will vote for them and leave them the luxury and splendor of being in charge?   Bosses, regardless of race or ethnicity, love to be in charge.   Power is a strong drug.   Will Minneapolis citizens stand up for themselves or stand up for the bosses against the rest of the people?   Will we have more acknowledgement of truth or more cover-up?

I agree with those who say that one of the great achievements of the United States is that it has gotten people from every area and country to join together to become one fantastic country, a country where the children of former slaves stand with children of former slave owners and sing "God Bless America."   What clouds judgment and thinking in America today are those who think this happens everywhere.   It does not.   It is not true, for instance of any Arab country and true in very few European and Asian countries.

I have remained faithful to the dream.   Many Blacks have remained faithful to the dream.   We don't want to give up nor give in, although some do.   There are still enough of us willing to do what it takes to overcome hardship and adversity, to achieve the triumph of our own human spirit.   What we want now is to instill the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. in both Liberal politics and Black organizational sell-outs that have caused it to be either driven out or seen as not achievable.

How long will the Black community put up with the DFL?   Blacks automatically voting for the DFL is what helps keep Blacks on the short end of the economic stick.   The local DFL, with state approval, because of their internal fight over judge nominations, has also set in motion the defeat of their own DFL Senator, Paul Wellstone, which could put the U.S. Senate back in the control of the Republicans.   For the DFL, who does Wellstone think he is?   He is just an elected Senator.   The self-appointed DFL is convinced it knows better and wants the power, no matter who is sacrificed.  

This is why the candidacy of Natalie Johnson-Lee of the Green Party is so important.   The DFL is now causing people to think Green Party.   As a result, the Green Party is now the second largest party in the state.   I'm sure the DFL would love to fold the Green Party into itself, just as Nellie Stone Johnson's Farmer-Labor Party was.   But then they double-crossed Nellie.   Would they double cross the Green Party?   Given the way they are currently acting and constituted, of course they would.

Our future in the inner city is now tied to the political fortunes of Natalie Johnson-Lee.   She has the principles that enable her to stand up for the concern, rights, and fairness of the people, principles that should be exhibited by every elected official.   She treats those who elected her as her purpose, not as her cannon fodder.   She is one of the few elected officials capable of being a great Mayor of Minneapolis and a great Governor of Minnesota.   She has the ability to get people to support her as she stands on the truth, stands for what is right, stands for fairness, and stands for what is best for the city as a whole and for the people who make up the city.   Even though the odds are greatly against her, I am predicting that she will get stronger and stronger as time goes on, that the deals people have made will become unraveled, and that the Minneapolis Blacks who have customarily sold out their fellow Blacks will be on the run.   Hopefully the days of the NAACP and Urban League helping them do their dirty work will soon come to an end as well, so that they will no longer be sell-outs and that once again they will return to an agenda for the whole community.

Hopefully, the future belongs to community groups too.   We've come full circle.   It is time for grass roots movements again.   These provide hope because they show how to be successful in a positive way.   

I have written about the Minneapolis story in the hopes that it will prod Minneapolis to the greatness that awaits her if all get equal opportunity and equal access.   I have not asked permission to write this book and I make no excuses for writing it.   I invite Black readers from other cities to write the story of their cities through their eyes as they view the fairness, or lack of fairness, and the involvement, or lack of involvement, of Blacks in the social and political and social mainstream of their cities.   I will continue to live the Minneapolis story and comment on it.   I urge readers to do the same, in whatever town and state you live in.   I'll continue to add my comments on a regular basis on my web page , .  

Will the Black community in Minneapolis continue to vote the DFL party line?   They stopped this year in New York City when 25% of Blacks voted Republican in the Mayor's race, which put former Democrat Michael Bloomberg into office as the Republican Mayor.   If the Black community will vote to support whoever will work for equal access and equal opportunity and end the plantation mentality in education, housing, and jobs, they will no longer be at the bottom in these areas.   And if that means they vote Green or another party and the DFL becomes a minority party, well, that is what the DFL deserves for having openly betrayed the Black community in terms of access, opportunity, education, housing, jobs, and for having betrayed the ideals of Nellie Stone Johnson.  

There is a real danger with racism and intolerance, and that is that it hinders participation in the economics and politics of this country.   What is the "American creed" if not equality?   The prize on which we all keep our eyes is the trinity of freedom and liberty and equality, using Lincoln's words for the first 3 entries below:  

This is the bedrock of liberty, and is still what fires the imagination of every group in America, and those around the world hoping to come to America.   This has always been the vision of Blacks in America.   It is the beacon that draws us, a beacon to which we must not close our eyes.   The more we articulate that vision of equality of access and opportunity, the less we can grant special status to any group, Black or White, male or female, North or South, straight or gay.  

In biology, it is said that each species reproduces itself, that, like produces like.   So too, in my view, does society, that poverty breeds poverty just as wealth produces wealth.   This is all the more reason to integrate Black and White poor into the economic mainstream.   Racism and prejudice and segregation keep Blacks out of the economic game.   Put more simply, there is a fear in Whites of how far Blacks will go if allowed to play on a level playing field.   The truth is they will do the same as Whites:   some will prosper greatly and some not so much.   All will have a chance.

Would that we could all join in a shared quest to discover the common ground on which we can all stand as citizens of our great country, our great state, our great city.   It is said that the world has changed far more in the last 100 years than any previous century.   Naturally, there are those who believe this has happened because of their ideology or religion or economic system or just themselves alone.   In reality, the great changes, be they in civil engineering or warfare, medicine or space flight, have been due to technology and capitalism.   These two things have brought more people out of misery and poverty than anything else.   And yet there are those who spurn it on religious grounds (especially Arab Islam) or who are unable to take advantage of it on political grounds (socialism, dictatorships).  

There are also those, especially among the wealthy of Minneapolis, who believe they are self-made men or women.   In truth, there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.   Scratch one and you will find someone helped them either with money, contacts, encouragement, marriage, birth or a combination of these.   Blacks of the inner city need help too, not the least of which is being allowed to help each other.

My goal has been to expose for Minneapolis, in my own small way, the differences between the American ideal and the reality of discrimination and segregation that keeps too many Blacks out of the economic mainstream and, as a result, hurts the White community as well.   It boils down not only to what is moral or right or even just.   It boils down to what is legal.   The redistricting we discussed earlier was legal, but it was not moral, right, or just, as it disempowered, disenfranchised, and ghettoized the people it stacked in the new Minneapolis 5 th Ward.  

So let's look at where we are:  

Rather than hang its head in shame and say that's the way of the world, Minneapolis needs to raise its head and its eyes to take the steps needed to reverse these.   In the meantime, we have created a moral crisis in the inner cities where young people believe that "anything goes."   Free love/sex/disease/addiction have created terrible results for poor, inner city Black youth.  

Some think I sound like a Conservative because I stress our community relationships more than I do so-called "rights," and that I stress economic self-sufficiency over government support.   But how else can we inspire our youth to understand that Blacks not only can make and hold wealth and property, but that they have, and did so back when the climate for such success was far worse that it is today.   We overcame then.   We must get our youth to understand that we can overcome now.   They must be made to see that they can overcome now, as so many Blacks before them, if we continue to accept them and push them to do so, using the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a beacon, demonstrating to them that it is not government programs and subsidies that are needed long term, but that we need government protection and assurance to guarantee to equal access and equal opportunity.  

And we need to emphasize and model the importance of relationships not only between parents and children but also between neighbors, both Black and White.   We need to make heroes out of parents and those being responsible for nurturing the health of family units.   American culture is more important than either White or Black culture.   Needed is an emphasis on education and on personal morality that will enable equal participation in the social, political and economic mainstream of this country.

And before I get accused of being a Pollyanna and thus not capable of assessing the way the "real world" works, let me assure you that I recognize not everyone is salvageable, that Blacks have bad apples just as Whites do.   What I am concerned about is that we are making bad apples out of good apples in the inner cities as we continue to accept, endorse, and implement quasi-apartheid policies.   We need our own Sullivan Principles for our own inner cities.   Until we stand up and say "no more" and work hard to obtain equal access and equal opportunity, how can we expect Black youth to accept us, follow us, or work hard to take advantages of opportunity if they see that their climb up the ladder of mobility is purposefully blocked?

I will work hard to support Natalie Johnson-Lee and help her against the DFLs attempts to block her.   for many reasons, but most of all because she ran without asking their permission (which is why she ran as a Green Party candidate, not as DFL).   They are picking on the wrong woman.   She is not a house Negro sell-out.   She is a field hand.   She works for all the people, White and Black, as she works for equal access and equal opportunity for all, regardless of color.   That is why I can say that someday she will make a great Mayor, a great Governor.   The DFL fears her future.   They want to nip it in the bud right now.   That is why they have turned to underhanded tactics to subvert the will of the people.

The Founding Fathers believed in what is called "natural rights."   Political rights were needed to protect each person's "natural rights," and for human beings there were common natural ends that all sought.   This was the basis of Thomas Jefferson's wonderful image of a "saddle on the backs" of the unfree and his image of tyrants being "booted and spurred" to ride those on whose backs they placed their saddles.   In other words, by his words, he said it was not "natural" to consider some men born with saddles on their backs, while others were born booted and spurred to ride them.  

As a young man, much earlier than 1776, Jefferson spoke up against slavery in Virginia.   He nearly lost all he had from the opposition he ran into.   He then remained silent on the issue.   He stayed true to his ideals when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, but could not again bring himself to live those ideals personally, as he needed his 80 slaves to run his home at Monticello to free him to do the work he wanted to do.   Our task is to do both:   stay with the ideals and live them in our own lives as well, to walk the talk, not just talk the walk.   Sadly, in terms of Blacks, as Wendy said in the movie 'Hook," to Peter Pan, "why Peter, you've become a pirate," so too could it be said to Jefferson and Southerners, in term of blacks and slavery, "why Thomas, you've become a tyrant."   But that doesn't negate his words, which still fill the beacon of hope with light and still provide the drum beat of freedom with rhythm.   His not freeing his slaves doesn't negate the idea of freeing slaves and treating all equally.   We need to shine the light of his words on all of the remaining inner-city Monticellos, and then actually act on the words, not just mouth them, and support the drumbeat of freedom for everyone.  

Jefferson's words still reverberate in me with excitement, that it is not natural to consider some men born with saddles on their backs, nor is it natural to consider others born booted and spurred to be ridden.   And that is exactly what I have fought for these past 40 years:   that people not be viewed as wearing saddles that others can then ride.   The Minneapolis story is a story of the saddle.   For some of the Minneapolis Mastuhs, the saddle is for everyone, and the saddle belongs on the back of the city, so that the city carries them.   For other Minneapolis Mastuhs, the saddle was meant for individuals.   Those holding this view also believe they were born booted and spurred to ride them.   Either way, the most recent examples of this are the Redistricting of Minneapolis (Chapters 12-13), the Hollman housing project (Chapter 8) and the jail project (Chapter 9), all of which represent saddles on the backs of many young Minneapolis inner city Black men.   Indeed, until we can demonstrate to the young Black men of the inner cities that they are not predestined to wear the saddle, we will not be able to address the inner city moral cries of drugs, gangs, single moms, and promiscuous sexual practices.   Rights are important, but so too are responsibilities and personal achievement that transcend civil rights, and those are the rights of newborns to a united family and a safe community.   We need to work with public officials, including the police, to get both Black and White bad apples out of our communities while also showing officials and the police that many whom they would harass and beat up are not bad apples and should not be treated as they are.   We need to show them not the profile of being Black but the profile of being human, of achieving, and then providing the access and opportunities needed to move on up.

Lets work together to write a new story of Minneapolis, a positive one that provides hope and access and opportunity for all.   I want to be part of those who serve as Beacons to help light a new path for the Minneapolis story, as those who provide a tempo for the drum beat for freedom.   I don't want the living library that I represent that can help shed that light to disappear.   I want to leave people, Black and White, armed with the kind of knowledge of how Minneapolis works so they can work together to make Minneapolis work better.

October postscript on the future:   what legacy do we leave for our grandchildren?

Although I don't agree with everything in Bill Clinton's October 2 nd speech, I enjoyed his close.   It reminded me of the story that Israel's Menachim Begin was finally willing to make a deal with Egypt's Anwar Sadat (The Camp David Accords), when Jimmy Carter's secretary handed him a picture of Begin's grandchildren to ask Begin what world he would leave for them.   This goes for all of us too.   As Clinton stated:

I would like to close with this simple idea. All of the hopes that I have for my daughter's generation, for the grandchildren I hope to have, for all of you who are younger than me and, unlike me, still have most of your lives ahead of you, rest upon our ability to get the world to embrace a simple set of ideas, that we must move from interdependence to integration because our common humanity matters more than our interesting differences and makes the expression of those differences possible; because every child deserves a chance, every adult has a role to play and we all do better when we work together.

That is why we must build the institutions that will help us to integrate , that is why we must stand against the threats, whether they are from weapons of mass destruction, terrorists, tyrants, Aids, climate change, poverty, ignorance and disease which would tatter this world and prevent us ever from coming together as one.    [I would like all of us to go] beyond the exclusive claims of old opponents to a future we can all share; going beyond the fears and the grudges, the fights and the failures of yesterday's demons to a truth we can all embrace.



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

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