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The Experience of Ron Edwards

A Renaissance Black Man in a White Man's World

A Beacon for Freedom in the City

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2008 Columns

“Through My Eyes”

weekly column of Ron Edwards
from the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Continuing The Minneapolis Story,
Ron’s “Black Focus,” airs Sundays, 5-6 p.m.,
on Channel 17, MTN-TV

Quarter 4: October thru December

December 31, 2008, Column #50: A most historic year for our nation. And a busy year for local discrimination as well.

December 24, 2008, Column #49: Time is running out for Police Community Relations Council

December 17, 2008, Column #48: Brutality continues against Black males in Minneapolis: Smith's death by police tasers brings his appeal to a tragic halt.

December 10, 2008, Column #47: North High-Dunwoody Academy partnership raises many troubling questions.

December 3, 2008, Column #46: Obama must avoid another 'great white fleet'. This is no time to get sucked into more pointless war.

November 26, 2008 Column #45: City gets down and dirty against Mill City Five: The court should review their tactics

November 19, 2008 Column #44: Will Obama's mandate for change energize the '09 City elections? Or will the same old, tired White faces reappear once again?

November 12, 2008 Column #43: OBAMA: With the flame rekindled, let us renew the fight for inclusion

November 5, 2008 Column #42: The shredding of 'Operation Payback'

October 29, 2008 Column #41: The victims change, but MPD's script remains the same

October 22, 2008 Column #40: In the matter of Sgt. Giovanni Veliz

October 15, 2008 Column #39: Race will be a factor in this election

October 8, 2008 Column #38: Is The Strib Only Interested In Black Corruption?Why Did It Drop Its MPD Investigation When White Officers Were Implicated?

October 1, 2008 Column #37: $700 billion bailout — or stickup?

Quarter 3: July thru September

September 24, 2008 Column #36: Is an exit plan for MPD chief in place?

September 17, 2008 Column #35: What did we get wrong?A response to some readers' concerns

September 10, 2008 Column #34: McCain's Vice-Presidential Surprise Should Give Democrats Pause

September 3, 2008 Column #33: The contest begins: America on the political stage. Obama in pursuit.

August 27, 2008 Column #32: Blacks rejected to lead state DFL delegation in Denver

August 20, 2008 Column #31: Flawed journalism misses MPD conspiracy against Black officers

August 13, 2008 Column #30: The art of silence, the act of cowardice

August 6, 2008 Column #29: The death of a settlement, the shame of a city

July 30, 2008, Column #28: In the matter of Charles F. Adams: The continued saga of Black officers

July 23, 2008 Column #27: MPD Black officers: The mystery deepens. Upcoming trials will help illuminate the shadows.

July 16, 2008 Column #26: Rev. Jesse Jackson: do you agree or disagree?

July 9, 2008 Column #25: In the spirit of Independence Day, let us affirm the patriotism of Barack Obama

July 2, 2008 Column #24: Minneapolis Urban League loses a significant voice of reason; Hightower's departure exacerbates the Black leadership void

Quarter 2: April thru June

June 25, 2008 Column #23: The mystery continues: an update on MPD Black police officers

June 18, 2008 Column #22: Long chain of perseverance led to new Fire Chief Jackson

June 11, 2008 Column #21: How can we save North High School? Its end looks near, a sacrifice to Northside gentrification

June 4, 2008 Column #20: Stadiums go up while compliance system breaks down

May 28, 2008 Column #19: Cops help bad guys threaten good citizens

May 21, 2008 Column #18: History in the making: Police Federation requests criminal investigation of MPD Chief Dolan

May 14, 2008 Column #17: Michael Jordan and MPLS civil rights: Pirate captain and pirate ship

May 7, 2008 Column #16: The door slams shut on civil rights; after 40 years, St. Paul Human Rights Dept. will cease to be

April 30, 2008 Column #15: Targeting the Black police

April 23, 2008 Column #14: Dream of justice shattered for Charez Jones and family

April 9, 2008 Column #13: Is it Censorship, Shoddy Reporting or Star Tribune Policy? Or is this to calm the nerves of the Republicans?

Quarter 1: January thru March

March 26, 2008 Column #12: Obama shows class

March 19, 2008 Column #11: A consent decree that worked

March 12, 2008 Column #10: The Round Up Begins: The Targeting Of The Hispanic Community

March 5, 2008 Column #9: Response to a Challenge Baseball Authority Responds

February 27, 2008 Column #8: City ignores signs of extremist danger: Preparing for the race war of 2008

February 20, 2008 Column #7: The Betrayal of a Trust: The Brutal Death of 4 year old Demond Reed

February 13, 2008 Column #6: Battle lines drawn in race for U.S. presidency

February 6, 2008 Column #5: Battle lines drawn in federal court

January 30, 2008 Column #4: If White police aren't safe, who is?

January 23, 2008 Column #3: Who will challenge discrimination in this city?

January 15, 2008 Column #2: Welcome to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Chaos

January 2, 2008 Column #1: MPD's scorched-earth policy: 2007 bleeds into 2008

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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Best of 2008

December 31, 2008 Column #50: A most historic year for our nation. And a busy year for local discrimination as well.

The economy is in a worldwide transition. Significant wars are visiting terror on both a global and local basis in the Middle East, Far East and Africa. And yet the number-one story today is, and will be when historians look back decades from now, the election and presidency of Barack Obama. There is no other story even close to that for the number-one story of the year.

Not even bookies in Las Vegas would have given odds on an Obama victory. Many, worn down by history's failed attempts, felt that it couldn't possibly happen. But through the creation of a well-designed campaign strategy, tremendous loyalty, legions of volunteers, and an excitement not seen in some time for a first-voter generation, Barack Obama did overcome.

Many thought he would misstep, that he would not get out of the primaries or the caucuses, that he would not be able to overcome the popular frontrunner, Senator Hilary Clinton of New York. And if he did accomplish these things, the thought of many was that America was still "not ready" to embrace the dream and elect the man.

But, my friends, the impossible dream became a reality at a crucial time in the history of our republic. He has brought a very much needed uplifting, a renewed vigor, a brighter vision of the future, and a call for America's sons and daughters to close ranks and set aside the differences that too frequently drive them apart.

The challenges he faces are enormous. There is no betting against him now. He has rekindled the American dream in many who didn't think they could continue to dream it. Every American has been freed to dream their version of the American Dream. Just like Dorothy passing over the rainbow to Oz, the election was a magical moment. [Also see here.]

Barack Obama laid the foundation. Barack Obama has stayed the course. On his website,, he has opened a new section, YOUR SEAT at THE TABLE, and asks us to submit ideas. We have submitted our Solution Paper #33 regarding the seats at the table, as well as our new book, A Seat for Everyone. I urge my readers to go to his website and submit their ideas as well.

To look forward to 2009 and beyond, contemplating the future of our nation and the future of our children, we pause briefly to look back to see how 2008 is preparing us for 2009. We humbly acknowledge and appreciate being recognized for our efforts earlier in December at the Minnesota Community and Ethnic Media Awards ceremony of the Twin Cities Media Alliance and its local news website, Twin Cities Daily Planet. [Read our acceptance remarks.]

Perhaps the biggest story in our Minneapolis community in 2008 has been the historic lawsuit of "The Mill City Five," five Black police officers suing the City for discrimination in four major areas, and the ensuing battle between them and the City as "The Five" have dared to attack the wall of nullification and reversal.    [Also see here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.]

How this is handled will have long-reaching ramifications in governance and race relations as the discrimination deniers face off against the targets of their discrimination. The situation has gotten so far out of hand that we had another historic first: the mostly-White Police Federation's first-ever lawsuit against the City on behalf of a Black officer, one of the "Mill City Five.

We also defended a White officer the department went after who stood up for Black officers, not to mention the Federation's historic request for a criminal investigation of MPD Chief Dolan. We wrote about the continued bad treatment of Black men and about the Civil Rights Department, the Civil Rights Commission , and the DFL failing to stand up for civil rights [also see here regarding the DFL].

We spoke up when traditional media [also see here and here and here and here re the Star Tribune] and minority "spokesperson" organizations failed to do so, practicing "the art of silence," also known as "acts of cowardice" [also see here]. 2009 will shine the final light on these cases.

In January, we asked who will challenge discrimination in this city [see also here and here]. We presented numerous examples, including the denial of jobs to Blacks on major construction sites such as the Twins and Gophers stadiums [see list of six past columns from 2005, 06, 07], as well as discrimination in education (e.g., North High School; also see here).

In closing, for the purposes of the local scene, we know that a Cecil Newman, a Nellie Stone Johnson, and others offer a smile and a wink for a job well done. May there be a happy New Year and peace in our time.