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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Ron Settles' Family Turns Pain Into Purpose

Reginald Ronnell Settles, a star football player at California State University in Long Beach, was on his way to a summer job when police stopped him. (Photo by Joseph Holliday)


In July 2020, I wrote about a promising young Black man, who had been arrested and, then, found, hours later, hanging in his jail cell. Police said it was suicide. Most believed otherwise.

His name was Ron Settles. He died 40 years ago.

Recently, his family began a foundation in his name to turn their pain into purpose by giving scholarships and arranging internships for students in criminal justice and related fields.

On Sunday, I talked about the story, which was covered by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, when I was a reporter there. I recalled the Kerner Commission's blasting of the press "too long basked in a white world" and the Institute for Journalism Education's work toward helping newspapers diversify their newsrooms. I graduated from the Institute's Summer Program for Minority Journalists at the University of California at Berkeley.

I also recounted that police departments often were not transparent. My first newspaper had taken the police department to court in order to access police reports, which were public record.

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Feb 23, 2021

Ms. Kirkwood, we are grateful for you taking time out in helping us keep Ronnie’s legacy alive. Thank you for the awesome interview; You are a remarkable woman. Schebonda Hunt~Secretary, The Ron Settles Memorial Foundation

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