The Revolutionary Soul of Ron Scott
by Barbara A. Stachowski
Ron Scott, I’ve struggled to encompass all the
aspects of the man that I saw embodied as he
walked in the world.
Ron Scott was a soulful man, always expressive
of deep feeling and emotion. Ron Scott was a
revolutionary, a man committed to changing what he believed needed change.
And, Ron Scott was a man of rich faith rooted in the Christian tradition. Ron was unique. He had
the wisdom to set aside theological dogma and advocate for peace in communities with a spirit of
ecumenism and inclusiveness embracing all faith traditions. Even if there seemingly were no faith
traditions in a situation he encountered, he was able to intuit the “tradition” at hand. He would effortlessly sense the dynamics of the moment and elegantly craft his response to the crisis. The “tradition”, very often, was that of the streets
that so many live with and in.
His talent to de-escalate a situation most certainly saved lives when people, hurt and desperate
to react in a moment of utter pain, were drawn to his words of peace and logic. Ron’s soothing,
yet piercing, logic was critical in advocating for generations of individuals engaged in what he
called the “War on Mack”. Ron knew that Detroit’s most crucial challenge was to teach people to
de-escalate volatile situations within the community before calling law enforcement. This was
the foundation for Ron’s work to establish Peace Zones for Life.
I have imagined Ron’s transition into the spiritual realm and have taken comfort in believing that
his life work would gain eternal recognition from the great leaders in the afterlife.
Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work “The
Hero With a Thousand Faces”, describes a hero as “someone who has given his or her life to
something bigger than oneself.” Campbell taught that myths represent the stories of the hero’s
journey that transcend all cultures. He describes the hero’s quest: “You leave the world that
you’re in and go to into a death or a distance or up to a height. There you come to what was
missing in your consciousness in the world you formally inhabited. Then comes the problem
either of staying with that, and letting the world drop off, or returning with that boon and trying to
hold onto it as you move back into your social world again. That’s not an easy thing to do.” Ron
took on this hero’s quest selflessly, knowing, all too well, the costs. His decision to walk a hero’s
path was not one he would have described as heroic: he walked with humility.
Ghandi’s favorite Hindu devotional song was “Vaishnava Jana To”, a
15th century Gujarati hymn he included in his daily prayer. In it, a
vaishnava is described as someone who “feels the pain of others, helps
those who are in misery, but never lets ego or conceit enter their mind.”
Ron was a vaishnava in this sense. He was especially adept at
embracing the pain of mothers and fathers who had lost children,
whatever the situation.
Buddhists describe a bodhisattva as “an enlightened being who, out of compassion, forgoes
nirvana in order to save others.” Ron was a bodhisattva whose heart ached with compassion.
Ron was a hero because he had the strength to blend what he knew about faith, philosophy,
politics, media, human nature and suffering and hone a message that encouraged people to be
the best they could be. He challenged all of us to think about what we “bring to the table” and he
challenged all leaders to ask the question, “Who is at the table and who needs to be at the
Ron’s commitment was 24/7. When a tragedy happened, Ron was often the first one called.
This weighed heavy on a soul so committed to his work. But Ron never said, “No. I’m too tired.”
Ron kept going until the end of his life on this earth. And now…
Rest in peace, Ron: son, brother, partner, friend, comrade, hero, mentor, disciple of peace,
vaishnava, bodhisattva, and revolutionary soul. Rest in peace, dear friend, at last, rest in