'Championing People:' Tributes Salute Detroit Rights Crusader Ron Scott, 68

November 30, 2015, 10:22 AM by  Allan Lengel



Ron Scott at the NAACP Detroit branch. (Photo via WDIV)

Longtime civil rights activist Ron Scott, founder of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, died Sunday of cancer, the Arab American News reports. He was 68.

An alumnus of the University of Michigan, he had been a political consultant and media adviser to Mayor Coleman A. Young and Congressman John Conyers. He described himself as a co-founder of the Black Panther Party chapter in Detroit. 

More recently, he spoke at activist Grace Lee Boggs' 100th birthday party in June.

Hiis coalition protested police shootings and he was among a group that spoke out in 2013 when the Detroit Police Department’s decided to hire consultants with a conservative group that promoted a controversial stop-and-frisk program in New York City. 

Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP, praises in him in a statement as "a consistent champion for those often left out, overlooked, and marginalized."

Andy Arena, the former head of the Detroit FBI who now heads up the Detroit Crime Commission, dealt with Scott over the years while at the FBI. "Ron and I never saw eye-to-eye on much, but I always respected his passion," he told Deadline Detroit Sunday night: 

Admirers post condolences and tributes on Scott's Facebook page and elsewhere on social media.

"I shed a tear for my comrade and friend. He was always working to change the world for us -- keeping us aware -- and walking the talk. He is one of a kind and will be truly missed," writes Alesia Williams of Detroit.

Ron Scott was raised by a single mother in the Jeffries Projects in Detroit.

These are among other posts on Facebook:

► "Changing of he guard:" He was dedicated to the civil rights movement and proactive transparency of policing, i have witnessed his work in the community, he was assertive and non apologetic in his beliefs. As the changing of the guard conforms, and the following generations are left to lead our community, i always tend to wonder if there will be leaders with such passion, assertiveness, and effective intention of change, not conforming to the pressures of popularity and underhanded dealings,, for leaders like Ron are becoming extinct. -- Anista Thomas

 "He was driven:" My dear friend Ron Scott died today. . . .  I rarely have witnessed such devotion to a community. U-Michigan, law school, razor sharp. He could've done anything. Instead, until the very end, desperately ill, he did what he always did, although he never had much to "show" for it: support those he deemed voiceless. He was driven, and understood his purpose. -- Mary Chapman, writer

"Championing people:" He was always on the front lines -- getting fired from a community organizing job for allegedly wearing a cap to work, accused of "loitering" in Greektown (of all things) winning lawsuits, fighting for civil rights and against police misconduct, using his communications skills, championing people with no other champions. He was loved, hated, known, appreciated, and he will be missed. RIP, old friend. -- Betty DeRamus, author and past Detroit News columnist

Mayor Mike Duggan's chief of staff tweets:

This is from a civilian Detroit Police Commission member:

Scott grew up in the Jeffries Projects in Detroit "where my political and social worldview was shaped by an astute single mother who eventually earned a degree and became a teacher, and by conservative as well as progressive teachers who angered, challenged and ultimately inspired me," he wrote on his website.

"I was accepted into the University of Michigan in 1965, before affirmative action was in place to ensure educational equity.

"I was fortunate to have participated in the famous 1963 Detroit March, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. previewed his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech in Washington, D.C. later that year. A few years later, in the middle of my U-M attendance, I heard an electrifying Kathleen Cleaver speak at Detroit’s St. Matthew/St. Joseph Church and found myself co-founding Detroit’s Black Panther Party Chapter.

During controversial police actions, Scott was often quoted in newspaper articles and interviewed on TV. 

He described himself as a "transformational anthropologist."

"I am deeply interested and engaged in activities and projects that change human and social behavior in the direction of peace and reconciliation," his site says. "I am a political/social activist, a political consultant, a radio/television host and a documentary producer and chronicler of history."

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