Arcata, Ca. — As the months fly by, the commitment of holding vigils every month for Humboldt State University Student David Josiah Lawson, has remained. These vigils are a way to remember the life of Lawson that was ended way too soon by an act of violence. They also serve the purpose of keeping light on the fact that his case remains unsolved and that his killer remains on the loose.
Lawson’s mother makes the 12-hour commute from Southern California every month to Humboldt County–a small, rural town in Northern California. This vigil marking ten months held a more somber tone as Ms. Lawson’s tear-streaked face delivered words of pain and disappointment.
Chair of the Wiyot Tribe Ted Hernandez was present and spoke during the vigil. He forbade any recording and shared words and a prayer that he said were specifically for the family.
Arcata Mayor Sofia Pereira was also asked to speak. She mentioned how some are afraid of engaging but she will continue to show up.
She also answered questions and listened to the hurt and confused community gathered for the vigil. Some of the conversation centered around the community meetings to discuss student safety and updates on the case, which were requested by Lawson’s mother September 2017.
Although the city agreed to six public sessions, they were abruptly ended after the fourth one and reworked under “Equity Arcata.”
Many in the community have scrutinized the move as a way for the city and HSU to control the narrative and handpick students and community members to be involved in the conversation and building process.
The city agreed to hold these public forums again but want to work with local organizations and/or people of color in the community to outline a framework that is most effective.