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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

2019 Columns
Quarter 3: July thru September ~ Columns #15 - #19

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September, 23, 2019 #19: Denial of service leads to Black infant's death

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

Six weeks ago, a young mother raced her nine-month-old child to Children's Hospital in South Minneapolis. Three weeks later, with her child showing symptoms of pneumonia, the mother returned her baby to Children's Hospital. X-rays were taken. Staff confirmed the child had advanced pneumonia.

But according to the evidence that has been gathered, the child was turned away and, having received none of the required medical examination protocols to attempt to preserve its life, died shortly thereafter. Let's hope the baby's family's eventual lawsuit fares better with the justice system than did the Jamar Clark family.

What is a "protocol"? Most companies, agencies, and especially hospitals and clinics must follow federal and state codes or protocols regarding medical procedures ("compliance," "rules of conduct," "regulations," etc.). When not followed, a protocol can become, to borrow a novel's title, a "Protocol of a Damnation."

Our question is simple, based on evidence and discussions: Why weren't the healing protocols followed? The baby needed medicine, but confusion at the hospital regarding insurance resulted in the hospital not filling the prescription. So the young mother went to Walgreens, where confusion over eligibility to receive medication again resulted in another denial of lifesaving medicine for her baby. Within two hours of returning home without the medicine, the baby died.

The funeral was held. The baby was cremated. If not for the efforts of Brooks Funeral Home, the child could not have had the funeral due to the cost being beyond the reach of the mother and her family. I talked about this on my worldwide radio program.

How will the legal system respond? Already attorneys are in place seeking justice. But studying Minnesota law and reflecting on hospital legal documents can still leave the result in question. If you are assigned to the general wing of the hospital, the chances are that you will not be afforded medical care — sad news for children of color in Minneapolis and America.

We all realize that America's healthcare system is broken and needs fixing. And, we know that part of the fracturing of the healthcare system is driven by forces denying equal care due to various reasons, including race and poverty. Denial of service is harmful and thus does not meet the Hypocritic Oath of "Do no harm."

The debate is over who pays and how. The eligibility question is about when race and poverty will be taken out of the equation.

Over the past 16 years of this column, I have often written about how medical care becomes selective, which is an abandonment of the goal of providing medical care for all. So, when I received a request to again write of this in terms of the nine-month-old baby, I saw an opportunity to again examine the systematic medical malpractice against the interests and safety of persons of color.

The tragic death of this nine-month-old reminds us of how prevalent medical malfeasance can become. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that The ACA (Affordable Care Act, or "Obama Care") is constitutional. That is now being challenged in a court that says part of ACA is "unconstitutional and inseverable," which therefore invalidates the whole Act.

So now, it's not "if" but "when" health care is fixed, including coverage of catastrophic medical expenses for all. Since 1912, seven presidents (Republican/Progressive Teddy Roosevelt was the first) have tried to pass healthcare legislation (three Republicans and four Democrats).

Nixon proposed it, but the Democrats said no. Carter proposed it, but Ted Kennedy said "Hold it" until he was president. So far we only have Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.

Will Minnesota back efforts to provide medical care for all rather than only for selected citizens? Let us all pray for a better future.

Stay tuned.

For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to

August, 22, 2019 #18: In the matter of Jamar Clark. Once again: what is just and fair?

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

Federal Judge Michael Davis' order for a fair-negotiation between the City of Minneapolis and the family of the late Jamar Clark, stunned the city council and the legal community as he requested a re-examination of all circumstances involving Jamar Clark's November 2015, death by officer involved shooting, of how the Clark family was delayed decisions for a year, and then offered nothing, while Justine Damond's white family was given $20 million to the black Clark family offer of only $200,000?

Council member Cunningham asked why the compensation offer to the Clarks was only $200,000 for the death of their son when the offer to the Damonds was $20 million for the death of their daughter. Why such obviously unjust, unfair, and unequal decisions? To deal with this, Judge Davis summoned City officials to appear before him, to explain on the record, about their prior actions of withdrawing the offer to the Clark family, and then finally offering a far lower figure.

The unfairness was compounded by the City's General Counsel, Susan Siegal, who intentionally mislead the Clark family during the discussions that were drawn out for over a year. In addition to this, was the questionable conduct by the county attorney regarding Jerome Copeland, one of the most important eyewitnesses to the Clark death. They made Copeland disappear on trumped up charges trying to discredit him.

It was clearly this pattern of mis-conduct by Minneapolis City officials that did not sit well with Judge Davis, who, as an African American, clearly recognized the pain and the insult that had been imposed on this African American family in what was clearly a fake intention to negotiate in good faith while only negotiating intentionally with the Damond family.

We applaud a surviving sister of Mr. Clark, who stood tall, spoke with passion, and clearly laid out the facts regarding the circumstances of dishonesty by the City of Minneapolis regarding Clark were done with malice aforethought. This is a fragile time for the city of Minneapolis and its leadership regarding its credibility with the African American community.

The investigation is tainted. We call your attention to six prior columns since the 2016 Clark killing, which identified efforts by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to suppress and obstruct evidence that would have brought forward fruitful observations of what happened on that tragedy that November 2016.

See my MSR articles on the Clark affair dated November 24, 2015, January 27, 2016, March 2, 2016, March 23, 2015 April 6, 2016, and April 20, 2016.

The hero of this story is Judge Michael Davis, who understands the quest for Justice and the search for compassion and honesty.

Constitutionalists should be concerned about the ethics and conduct of City Officials regarding how they negotiated and obstructed justice.

Clearly no true foundation was laid for balancing justice and fairness for Jamar Clark. How staggering, in light of the $20 million for the Damund family, with only $200,000 was designated for the Clark family. Judge Davis recognized how fairness and justice was betrayed. How unfair to have a former BCA agent suggest that the Clark family should be happy and satisfied with $200,000 when the Damond family was getting $20 million to the Australian family of Justine.

These numbers were based on previous payments and compensation in similar cases dealing with the police. This has been a dangerous and slippery slope, as our refusal to enjoin African Americans fairly and justly on race, fairness and justice for all, as if there are those for whom the importance of their lives is not important.

We owe fairness and justice to Jamar Clark and his family. God bless them and may they find satisfaction.

Stay tuned

We need to again listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to non-violence, and his urging that we judge by content of character and not color of skin. We need to adopt Barack Obama's vision that we are Americans first, not separate as white, black, brown or yellow Americans.

For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to

August, 08, 2019 #17: The race card played in Baltimore and America's cities.

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

We are experiencing a clash of giants: the Civil Rights uniter, Elijah Cummings, and the divider President, Donald Trump. We need the spirit of another giant, Thurgood Marshall, who was raised on the West Side of Baltimore, and whose legacy is clear: the "greatest civil rights lawyer and constitutional lawyer of the twentieth century," who fought for equality for all, majority and minority, "regardless of race or gender or circumstance, defending any individual or minority group oppressed by the majority or by the government."

I am upset about the tone of President Trump's twitter storms against Baltimore and Congressman Cummings. Nonetheless, this clash pulls the covers back on harsh facts both parties have long avoided, blaming each other instead. Here are facts:

Baltimore has been dubbed the "most dangerous city" in Maryland. That's according to the financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St., which dug into FBI data from 2017 to determine violent crime rates in nearly 2,000 cities and towns.

USA TODAY: The president is right about Baltimore. Are Democrats really prepared to defend failure?


Think of what could be done by the powerful Chairman of the Oversight Committee and the President of the United States, working together to resolve these issues.

We need to again listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to non-violence, and his urging that we judge by content of character and not color of skin. We need to adopt Barack Obama's vision that we are

President Trump continues from earlier attacks, as when he said that Barack Obama was born in a grass hut in Kenya, Africa, an accusation and insult of a birther.

These are troubling times, dangerous times, as too many refuse to listen to such great voices as JFK (moon vision), LBJ (Great Society vision), MLK, Jr (non-violence vision), Nellie Stone Johnson (activist vision), Thurgood Marshall (equal vision), and others, visions of Americans of all colors and persuasions rallying around and standing together, equally proud of each other and our nation.

The political decisions fracturing respect and civility, has us teetering as if on the head of the Statue of Liberty, casting shadows on the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. We need instead to remind ourselves of the words and spirit of such patriotic songs as "America the Beautiful."

The race card will not serve any who use it in 2019 and 2020. We need to stand up for our country, our cities, and each other.

God bless America.

Stay tuned.

For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to

Ed Notes: additional links

"…..segregated West Baltimore—a Harlem-like mecca of political activism, achievement, and black culture (Marshall went to school with Cab Calloway)—that Marshall's worldview took shape. For decades, national civil-rights leaders, including Marshall's friend Clarence Mitchell Jr., the NAACP's chief lobbyist in Washington during the 1960s, would rise from West Baltimore, which had been home to the forerunner of the NAACP, the Mutual United Brotherhood of Liberty, and then home to one of the strongest branches of the NAACP."

"Traveling nearly 50,000 miles each year, mostly by train, often alone, his life threatened too many times to count, Marshall took Jim Crow apart plank by plank, state by state, federal ruling by federal ruling. Overseeing hundreds of cases as director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for 21 years, Marshall set precedent after precedent, not just in the arenas of education and criminal law, but across every sector of public life—voting, housing, transportation, equal pay, taxpayer-funded services, military justice, higher education, and the rights of minorities to serve on juries."

"Three examples: Marshall helped establish that coerced confessions are not admissible in court; that states cannot legally enforce restrictions on the sale of homes to minorities; and that nonwhites cannot be barred from voting in primary elections, which, in many parts of the country, were the only votes that mattered."

Marshall, called the "dismantler of Jim Crow," enabled the striking of the death knell for the USA legal apartheid system of "separate but equal." He pursued laws that responded to "all are created equal," by which he meant "getting the same thing, at the same time, and in the same place," for "any individual or minority group oppressed by the majority or by the government, and that included women, the physically challenged, and criminal defendants."

…"Marshall—as courageous, tenacious, and visionary an individual as this country has ever produced—changed America."

"In the courtroom, he made his case with facts, the law, and the Constitution in a frank manner, neither alienating juries, Southern judges, nor opposing counsels, with whom he generally got along.

"Because separate but equal facilities had never truly been accomplished—public services for blacks were uniformly inferior—the only solution, Marshall began to argue, was to make all public facilities and services open to all races."

"When asked during the Brown arguments by Justice Felix Frankfurter what he meant by "equal," Marshall responded in the same forthright, plainspoken manner that had become his hallmark.

It is a footnote in history that Johnson was so intent on appointing the first black justice he created an opening on the court by naming Ramsay Clark attorney general in early 1967. That move essentially forced his father, Supreme Court justice Tom Clark, to resign because of a conflict of interest."

July, 25, 2019 #16: A City in Danger. America's new version of Tombstone

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

As the level of gun violence in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, continues to escalate, we see no real attempts to follow any of many solutions proposed. The MSR last week had an article on fathers needing to talk to their sons. Jamil Jivana has recently written Why Young Men, about solutions to combat the rise in violence committed by young men around the world (all colors),

On Friday, July 12, 2019, gunmen walked into the upscale, CRAVE roof top restaurant dat Hennepinn Avenue and 8th Street, in the heart of down town Minneapolis. Its was the latest violence in our city. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo say they have a plan. As of the writing of this column we are still waiting for the unveiling of their plan.

Gunfire has become a a new normal most nights and days, as we reported in recent columns (A city under siege, 6-20-19; A Paralyzed Nation Prepares for 2020, 6-27-19; How long will rage be the order of the day? July 11, 2019,). Our sister city of St. Paul, the state capital of Minnesota, is not far behind us in violence and mayhem.

The violence early Saturday morning, July 13, in down town Minneapolis, reflects a dangerous pattern of planning and implementing violence. The rioting and confrontation between party goers and law enforcement frightened both citizens and visitors to downtown Minneapolis. The same weekend , 20,000 young people from 13 countries of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, were holding a youth faith gathering at Vikings stadium.

I have warned about this. Predictions of both what is hoped for and what is hoped to be avoided reflect a decade of what some call the "new normal," which means leadership (community, government, corporate, profits and non-profits, TV, radio and print) step away from this violence as "normal" reflects the decision to not recognize the homicidal mentality as "this too shall pass," that this violence will subside, until, of course, the next time this now "normal" cycle circles back.

It was interesting to hear the comments of some who were interviewed by TV, cable, radio and print reporters and journalists, many offering a shell-shocked reflection of concern and fear of the "new normal" they have just lived through. The event caused panic up high, on the upscale roof top restaurant, as well as down on city streets, as leadership once again looked the other way, as if the carnage and chaos that erupted in the Twin Cities and surrounding metropolitan areas will self-contain and self-remove.

Belief in the "new normal" prevents confronting the truth of a city's violence that too often reminds us of TV and movie westerns of the wild west's changing "normals," as seen in such famous wild west place names as Northfield, Tombstone, Abilene, and Dodge City, including the famous outlaw criminals in early 20th century St. Paul.

Then the shootings are gone. Until, of course, the next time. For some, being startled beyond anything imaginable showed up as a temporary interruption of what was to have been a beautiful rooftop experience of a great evening and what had bee n assumed to be a safe activity to enjoy.

It is a sad commentary when Minneapolis sounds like a movie based on a violent novel of a distant past. Where are the touted solutions, or is their missing also part of the "new normal?"

A long wondered question: why has no organization, agency, person or leader asked about the solutions suggested in my 2002 book, my 16 years of columns since 2003, and the over 50 solutions on my Minneapolis Story web site?

Stay tuned.

For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to

July, 11, 2019 #15: America is angry on the 4th of July. How long will rage be the order of the day?

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

We don't need future historians to look back to see what we already know, that on this 2019 fourth of July, America is a split nation, and therefore a dangerous nation, as the debate continues whether to heed Lincoln's prophetic words of "united we stand, divided we fall." Will we go forward with "malice toward none" or pay, again in Lincoln's words, the "full measure" of "lives and treasure" if we continue with malice?

How will future historians interpret our split of each half hating the other half? Will they record we took the dangerous, grim path of the French Revolution's "by any means necessary," or that we took the path of hope born of being thankful for America and work instead to heal the split and not make it wider?

Will future historians speak of us, as was spoken about the early 20th century civil war in Spain, the chilling words that the modern Spain that emerged "has nothing to do with what either side fought and died for." At least the USA ended slavery and segregation and set us on the path of our yet unfinished project of fully legalizing civil rights, unfinished due to violence against each other and remaining legal barriers. How will they say we handled such shootings as those in Minneapolis and St. Paul the Thursday and Friday before the 4th of July celebrations?

As of the crafting of this column, the top of community and government leadership, profit and non-profit leadership, have too often been silent. In some areas of the Twin Cities, such as the East side of St Paul and the North side of Minneapolis, people talk about sleeping in their bathtubs because of the death and injury potential of spraying bullets bringing death and injury.

We ask again, what is the anger that seems to be driving violence in America on this 4th of July? The Star Tribune, the Sunday before the 4th of July, highlighted statements of Minnesota's Attorney General, Keith Ellison, who talked about the hatred that is poisoning rural Minnesota, as if such hatred is new? It isn't new. The AG knows that for the 12 years he represented the 5th Congressional District, the 5th was long a hotbed of casualties and violence.

The article in the Star Tribune is an exception to the usual silence, whereas news stories and columnists of the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, have regularly reported on the violence, hate, and biases reflecting on America's unfinished project of evolving into united we stand instead of malice toward others.

The greatest proof of this sense of anger, frustration, and betrayal is the election of Donald Trump, as seen by the antagonism toward him by both Democrats and Republicans, and his support by leading religious groups, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant, or evangelical.

Democrats and Republicans fostered policies that led to 60,000 factories closing, sending millions of America's jobs to China, Mexico, and beyond. Now 100s of thousands of immigrants arrive to take existing jobs, playing ping pong with census and putting energy into destroying rather than building. Will our middle class continue to disappear as our southern border opens ever wider to new arrivals coming as a flood across the Rio Grande?

Langston Hughes, a leading light of the Harlem Renaissance movement summed up our problem with the title of his 1930 novel, "Not Without Laughter." As Maya Angelou opened her introduction to Hughes novel, "It is dangerous to believe a declaration of seriousness if the declarant has no sense of humor." We need to match the "little rocket man" DMZ sense of humor.

Stay tuned.

For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to

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