Born November 22, 1959, Ronald Eugene Harris was the 2nd of 5 children born to the union of Willie Lee and Jamie Mae Harris in Chicago, IL. As a natural born leader, Ronald was destined to have a tremendous impact on all whom he encountered. Whether you met him as Ronald, Ron, Skip or Kwesi, you were definitely left with a lasting impression. A product of the Chicago Public School System, Ronald was a proud Wolverine, graduating from Simeon High School in 1977. His love for Simeon ran deep, always boasting about the blue and gold! Practicing the principle of Sankofa, he returned to Simeon to coach football and later become the 1st president of the Simeon Alumni Association.
Ronald's next journey in life would be where many people may have known him as "Skip". He wanted to take everything that he had learned from Simeon to college. Deciding to attend Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, allowed him to continue to enhance his talents as an athlete. Majoring in Education and Social Work, Central State influenced him to tap into his love for educating and helping people. Ronald exemplified what it meant to be a "student athlete." He was active in every aspect of student life, including; academics, sports, Student Government Association and Residence Life. The pinnacle of his collegiate experience was in 1979, when he was initiated as the proud 4 Klub of the Delta Zeta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
On September 8, 1990, Ronald married his best friend, his "Queen" Donna F. Edgeworth. A committed family man, Ronald was passionate about the well-being of his wife, daughter, 3 sons and 4 grandsons. He was an "example to sample," displaying what it truly means to be a man, a father and a husband.
Even in his professional life, Kwesi Ronald was dedicated to his role as a "Servant Leader." He spent over twenty years working in the heart of the West Side of Chicago at the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, Inc. Over time he served in various roles, but prior to his departure in 2008 he served as the Administration Program Director of the Prevention Department.
Kwesi Ronald lived by the motto "du da work" and the work is what he did. As a consultant and inspirational speaker he provided lectures, keynote addresses, workshops, seminars and trainings in the areas of cultural reclamation, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs prevention, life skills, character development, relationships, violence prevention, and conflict resolution. As a co-founder of the Citywide Coalition against Tobacco & Alcohol Billboards, Kwesi Ronald along with the office of the Illinois Attorney General, grassroots organizations, national and local hip-hop organization, local pubic health advocates and over 30 other state Attorneys' General brought down KOOL cigarette's House of Menthol in 2004. His hard work and dedication paid off, making this one of his biggest accomplishments. His advocacy, organizational skills, authentic community ties and true belief in the cause helped bring about Smoke-Free Ordinances in the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. Kwesi Ronald also served on the Executive Council of the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network and on a National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Further solidifying his call as a servant leader, Kwesi Ronald was appointed as the Director of the African American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University in 2009. Keeping it "live on the 9-5," his impact on the Chicago State University community is one that is immeasurable. In 7 years at CSU he increased the enrollment rate, retention rate and graduation rate of Black male students, with the graduation rate rising from 7% to 24% in just 5 years. He conceptualized a program to holistically develop Black male students, T.E.M.B.O. (Teaching and Educating Men of Black Origin), personally shaping the next generation of Black male leaders and connecting them to their African roots. In his role he revolutionized campus programming with events like Ujamaa Market that raised scholarship funds and supported Black businesses, W.U.R.D. is Balm (Words Uplifting and Restoring Dignity), a National Poetry Month Event, and served on several University committees. He also was the host of CSU's Jazz N the Grazz, proving that he "never met a mic he didn't like."
Committed to "da uplift" of the African Diaspora. Kwesi Ronald was a founding member of Khepera & Associates Networking Services and Special Project Coordinator for Cobbala Productions. He was also a co-founder of Y2Kwanzaa.Org. Through these associations he ensured that thousands of Chicago youth, parents, educators and families were exposed to and involved in the celebration of Kwanzaa for over twenty-five years. He also displayed his commitment to the ideals of Sankofa by facilitating rites of passage as a member of the Chicago Branch of the NTU Rites of Passage Institutes.
Kwesi Ronald will always be remembered for his bright smiles, big voice, infinite wisdom, giving heart, genuine nature, free spirit, and most importantly, his unconditional love for his people #lovecheck.
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