With the song, “JUSTICE FOR JOSIAH (RIP)” by Oboy Flocka playing in the background, sophomore criminology student Barbara Singleton stood near the front of Siemens Hall with pamphlets, spreading awareness on the events planned for the following 12 Days of Action.
“The university needs to commemorate the death of Josiah so we can get a mural or a plaque with his face,” Singleton said. “We’re asking the university to put up a legal fund to help out his mom.”
Humboldt State University students are organizing a 12-day plan of action to gain national attention and investigative help to assist the process of bringing justice for the murder of 19-year-old, David Josiah Lawson.
As the one-year anniversary of Lawson’s death approaches, students, family and friends continue to grieve over the lack of acknowledgment and support from surrounding members of the community, and most importantly the university.
Humboldt State students stand together to bring awareness to the case of David Josiah Lawson on April 4, 2018. Video by Garrett Goodnight.
Do not confuse the university’s scripted statements with signs of actual progress.
The lack of support and desirability to create change within the university’s setting reflects the mere comfort within the administration and presidential office. The lack of motivation to bring awareness to Lawson’s case demonstrates that the university may not actually support the students’ movement at all.
Current race relations surrounding our campus environment is met with “optional” racial awareness training for students.
By making this type of training optional, the campus is refusing to take responsibility for the perpetuation of racist behavior, and by refusing to mandate this training in every department.
The ability to brush over racial tensions on and around our campus, staging it as an optional training, makes it easy for the university to trap new students of color in its institution, making them believe that our campus is a perfect, safe-haven for incoming freshmen and transfer students.
Even though the campus may claim that the university is inclusive, they do not inform students about the murder of Lawson before recruiting them here.
Freshman student, Marianna Baines, was frustrated with the university. She was not informed about the murder of Lawson before she transferred to HSU.
“I wasn’t told the truth,” Baines said. “If I knew about this, it would have given me more clarity.”
When it comes to voicing their opinions, students do not shy away from expressing their true feelings about the institution and what it is lacking.
Student organizer, Vanessa Cota explained that protests are extremely powerful in the sense that they are inspirational movements.
“It matters that people get their voice out there,” Cota said. “Protests can mobilize people, that’s where the power of protest is!”