On Sunday October 15, 2017 community members and students gathered for the six month vigil held for David Josiah Lawson.
Lawson was a second year Humboldt State student from Perris, CA who was stabbed at an off campus party Easter weekend and succumbed to his injuries. He was 19.
Vigils continue to be held every month for Lawson with the intent of remembering a young life that was senselessly ended as well as serving the purpose of public pressure for the Arcata Police Department.
There is currently no one in jail for Lawson’s murder although APD have a prime suspect (who was released after a preliminary hearing) and possible co-conspirators.
Yesterday’s vigil was hosted by the African-American Center for Academic Excellence (AACAE) at HSU as well as the Eureka chapter of the NAACP. The vigil was held at the D Street Community Center and was attended by many of the local community.
This vigil was slightly different from the last, only missing the family of Lawson. There was still a DJ Lorna Bryant, who is a local DJ and radio host for KHSU. A student who works at the AACAE read a spoken word piece she wrote in honor of Lawson, while a slideshow of him played in the background on a large projector screen. There was a ton of food brought by NAACP members as well as those in the community.
Kenya James-Nunley, coordinator of the AACAE spoke on a microphone at one point, describing how Lawson’s mother does not want her son’s murder to just be another tragic event that happened. She would like for her son’s legacy to be one of community building between the students at HSU and the local community as well as the overcoming of racial barriers.
Nunley mentioned how moving forward, the AACAE is looking for local organizations and businesses who would like to help host a vigil for Lawson–which is something many are looking forward to.
For the event to be sponsored by a cultural center at HSU, no HSU administrators were present.
On Thursday October 26, 2017 the Arcata City Council will hold a public meeting for APD to give the public updates on Lawson’s murder investigation.
The meeting is also a space to discuss concerns about issues of safety for students of color in the community as well as other concerns they may have.
Student input is highly needed, so students your precense is imperative. These meetings were agreed to by Arcata City Council after Lawson’s mother presented them with a petition with over a thousand signatures asking the council to put Lawson on their meeting agenda moving forward. Lawson’s mother will also be in attendance.
Below are some photos of the great food at the vigil. Much thanks to those who brought food, cookies and drinks: