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2003 Columns
Quarter 1: January thru March ~ Inaugural Column #1

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March 26, 2003 Inaugural Column #1: The Minneapolis Story Continues, Through My Eyes

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

Freedom’s Prize: Equal Access, Equal Opportunity

For 40 years in Minneapolis I have fought for the Civil Rights prize of equality’s liberty and freedom for all. It is an honor and a pleasure to greet you the readers of the Spokesman-Recorder as your newest columnist, as I share with you the continued struggle to achieve equal access and equal opportunity for all. I will ask the question, “how, in (fill in the blank), is Minneapolis promoting or retarding equal access and equal opportunity in such areas as politics (including elections and redistricting); police-community relations (including mediation); jobs/wages (including contract compliance), housing (including Hollman/Heritage Park), education; Black-White leadership (including the Urban League, the NAACP, and the City Council); and raising up young Black men. I will record the words spoken and the actions taken in Minneapolis that answers that question and shows the “state of the city” in terms of equal access and equal opportunity.

I will write from the perspective of seven themes: (1) encouraging everyone not to take their eyes off liberty’s prize: freedom and equality; (2) working to include everyone at the table set by Minneapolis, seeking equal access and equal opportunity for everyone; (3) to tell it like it is, as I see it through my eyes, based on my past experience in Civil Rights activism in Minneapolis (16 years as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, 1968-1973 and 1979-1983; 11 years as President of the Minneapolis Urban League and 17 years on the Executive Committee 1971-1989; work with the NAACP as Housing Chairman 1999-2002 and Executive Committee 1999-2002; and Spokesperson for the Black Police Officer’s Association, 1996-Present); (4) recognizing that no one group has a monopoly on truth although each has part of the truth, and to speak of the truths as well as the falsehoods of both the political right and the political left, as we seek that common ground on which we can all stand from which to work together to solve common problems; (5) expose racial injustice, best described in James Baldwin’s phrase, that the system is geared to keep the ni**er in his place; (6) update these topics from my new book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, which is available now in local book stores and on line at and; and finally, (7) to join with Spokesman readers in the common cause to make Minneapolis a better place for everyone. This column, like my book, will pull the covers back and expose the Minneapolis experiments in racial injustice, whether carried out by Whites or Blacks or both, just as I do weekly on my “Black Focus” program on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-7 p.m.

The Minneapolis Story is not only good for Minneapolis, it is good for America. It is a story that needs to be told. There are many upset by events “out there” as they cry out for peace in the world. I cry out for peace in Minneapolis. But I tell you that unless there is justice there and here, along with freedom, there can be no peace there and here. We must promote liberty over slavery, truth over lies, and freedom over dependency, in our common search for justice, fairness and freedom as well as dignity and trust. That refers to state and local budgets as well.

Like you, I want Minneapolis to be a city where the imperatives of the human spirit can shine through. I want a city where healthy, well educated children will grow up into healthy well educated adults. We need to prepare our young people, especially our young Black men, for real work in real places and end policies resulting in so many young Black men winding up in jail, abandoning the families they have started, and not contributing positively to their communities. We must all work together to end the cycle of abuse, be it by us on each other or by the power structure on our community. We have to clean up our own doorsteps as we complain about the doorsteps of others. Do we, as a Black and White community, pay a little more now to work with those we have left behind or a lot more later in those periods before they get re-arrested and taken back to jail? Because I keep telling my publisher to “put this up on the web,” they have created a Web Log (or Blog) for me to use on, where I will make comments between these weekly columns. And if you have things you would like me to comment on, send me an Email at

Posted 03-26-03

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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