“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott
My decision to start this series came after a year of putting distance between myself and such a traumatic experience. Four months after I completed my undergraduate journey at a predominately white campus in a small, rural town, a Black student was murdered in the local community.
This series is not to toot my own horn. It is a shared reflection on the knowledge gained and insight derived through fighting for justice along with the pressure and pain. Within this, I know that I played such an integral role in telling the story of David Josiah Lawson. My website and skills from going through the journalism program at my college propelled me into the case.
And I was fine with that.
Besides writing articles, keeping the information concise and correct, we were developing pamphlets and fliers, using our own money to print and post fliers all over a small, white town. A town that did not want to hear about a murdered Black kid, especially when they believe he was killed in “self-defense.” As well as being dragged in every direction his mother wanted to go.
I never received a DIME for writing about the murder of this kid, while the small local publications around the town DID. And they seemed to be working overtime to maintain the public perception that the police were doing everything they could, to bring someone to justice for the murder of Josiah Lawson.
My platform attempted to show the ways that was simply untrue.
From day one, a botched investigation was apparent and I let it be known.
In the back of my mind, there was always a sense of fear, but no one would ever know. Other than his mother. Who joked about me being “paranoid” as if her kid was not just stabbed multiple times with a butcher knife, and the killer was still running loose through the town.
You call it paranoia.
I call it history giving me pointers about the way OUR people have been cut down for speaking UP. She came to town once a month and acted like she was on vacation. While myself and other Black students were forced to live within the reality of a small town, who told us online daily to STFU over this murdered Black kid.
Only through sheer persistence of keeping the name David Josiah Lawson ALIVE and not letting the town or school FORGET, is how his story began to gain traction. For those who think they know the story, you could never know what justice for Josiah means, when the words were never uttered out your mouth, until students shouted it all through the small college town of Arcata, California.
This series is about classism within the Black community, as much as it is about racism Black people experience under white supremacy.
This series is about fighting for justice in a small white town.
This series is about the ways in which Black people treat each other as well as male and female dynamics in organizing.
This series is about my truth, so that another fearless, young Black-woman who aspires to be a journalist and writer, knows where to draw the line in the cases she covers, and the families she supports.
This case is about injustice and how Black people need to smarten up about the systems they are going against.
The series will also touch on white savior complex vs. white allies.
This series will also be recorded for my podcast Slauson Girl Speaks.