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Justice for Josiah rally

On April 5 at 1:30 p.m., students at Humboldt State left class to attend a rally on the UC quad in remembrance of David Josiah Lawson, a student who was stabbed to death at a party in Arcata almost a year ago.

“It’s been a year, and that is fucking ridiculous,” Barbara Singleton, president of the Black Student Union at HSU said.

Singleton stands on the second floor of The Depot, surrounded by a crowd of students who all left class as a part of the student-led walkout for safety in honor of David Josiah Lawson. The rain pounds down relentlessly, seemingly undetturent to all in attendance. The walkout is a part of 12 days of events being hosted in honor of the anniversary of Lawson’s unsolved murder.

Video by Surya Gopalan.

A year ago at a party in Arcata, Lawson, a black HSU student, was stabbed to death. There are currently no persons in custody. Students walked out of class at 1:30 p.m. on April 5 to be present at the 2 p.m. rally to bring justice to Josiah and demonstrate for student safety.

Kalyn Garcia, 18, social work major, left class to be present at the rally.

“I think that it is way bigger than Josiah,” Garcia said. “Any black, Mexican or children of color should not be concerned to leave their house.”

As the rally began, two students, Singleton, as well as Daniel Segura, 23, a critical race, gender and sexuality studies major, began leading the rally. They began by explaining there have been rumors about the Justice for Josiah movement being involved in illegal or destructive activities, and that they do not condone any violence or illegal actions.

Angel Sylva then performed a poem she wrote for Lawson, which will be performed again on the vigil held for Lawson on April 15.

“If it happened to one of us, it can happen again,” Sylva said.

With no sound equipment available to students after 1:00 p.m., due to campus policy, Sylva projects her voice as her only tool to spread her message to students.

Students then began calling out the members of administration in the crowd. Alex Enyedi, the provost of HSU, as well as Wayne Brunfield, the interim vice president of Student Affairs, were two of the members of administration in attendance.

“They have been silent this whole 12 months,” Singleton said.

Singleton directly addressed HSU administration, the Arcata city council and the police department.

“They have blood on their hands,” Singleton said.

The crowd screamed for administration to speak, one individual saying, “It’s fucked up for you to be here and not say anything.”

Eventually, Enyedi took the stage after much student call-out. He thanked the crowd for the opportunity to speak, then began.

“Students are told you need to be patient, but I get it. How long should you be patient for?” Enyedi said. “I share your frustration, I share your impatience. It shouldn’t take this long.”

Enyedi is not the one the students want to hear from. The question on everybody’s mind is where is Lisa Rossbacher, president of HSU? Students call out to Enyedi, demanding answers.

“I’ll tell her you’re unhappy she isn’t here,” Enyedi said.

A voice from the crowd screams, “We aren’t unhappy, we’re angry!”

President Rossbacher never showed up.

Brumfield was not getting away with silence either. Singleton and Segura called from the stage, “Wayne, where are you?”

Brumfield did go up to the stage and approved students to use a megaphone, but never addressed the crowd. Many continued asking why he did not speak.

When asked, Brumfield spoke of a racial equity plan he says he is currently working closely with students on. He said students deserve a voice in how equity and inclusion are happening in the community.

“We’re working with the two chiefs of police, students and community members to look at policies of police reacting to students, both on and off campus,” Brumfield said. “I think we are moving in the right direction.”

As the rally continued, a song written about Josiah was performed and then different chants were yelled throughout the crowd.

The event coordinators then relayed the message of future events and concluded the event, inviting students to continue their activism and presence in the coming weeks.

“The Justice for Josiah movement is very peaceful,” Singleton said.

At one point in the rally, a group of people visiting for spring preview walked past the UC quad.

“Anything they tell you will not justify his murder,” Segura said to the passersby.

Segura, being in his 10th semester at HSU, he says he has seen how the administration deceives students. He said HSU goes down south and recruits students of color without disclosing the violence toward people of color that has happened in the area.

“How are we supposed to welcome students of color when they trick you?” Segura asked.

This article has been updated from its original version on Monday, April 9 at 5:58 p.m.

8 Comments

  1. Chris Chris April 9, 2018

    President of the black union sure shows how hostile all these people are. Way to go losers

  2. Jacqueline Pennington Jacqueline Pennington April 9, 2018

    This isn’t the only unsolved murder that has taken over a year. Jennika a 17 year old murdered in her home remains insolved and it’s been over a year.. Let the judicial system do their job as frustrating as it may seem. It’s not sweep under the rug, takes time… Someone knows what happened in Josiahs murder they just aren’t talking.

    • Henchman Of Justice Henchman Of Justice April 16, 2018

      As if the judicial system doesn’t have a bunch of carpet laying about on the floor…… The judicial system is a fantasy….. It’s where people go to work and make money and attorneys don’t give a fuck about their clients at all…… You have to dig for a needle in the haystack to find a reputable attorney or judge or courtroom…..

      And people of color are not the only people on the face of this fucked-up country soil that don’t get Justice…..

      And it sure as fuck doesn’t help when you got a bunch of dumbass college students who are making the situation worse because they want to scream bloody murder about racism instead of just focusing on the separate issue of a crime being committed.

      Do black people, brown people, polka dot people actually believe they get no support from Caucasian people whom have also suffered the same types of abuse…..

      Maybe these dumbass college students should get prescription glasses and look at all the white people who show up at Arcata City Council meetings in a mobster style to support non-white human beings being abused…… It could be a real eye-opener but then again don’t get your hopes up.

      • John John April 22, 2018

        The biggest challenge departments face in finding suspects is dealing with showing up to crime scenes where nobody wants to talk. All of this animosity towards police is the problem, because nobody wants to be a “snitch”.

  3. Joe Joe April 9, 2018

    “No charges have been brought about in the case”

    Was this written by someone with no knowledge of the case, or was this a deliberate omission of facts in an attempt to sensationalize this story? Charges were filed, Kyle Zoellner was arrested and there was a week long preliminary hearing that was very well publicized elsewhere. The charges were then dismissed due to a complete lack of evidence. The fact that this article that is advocating for people to be aware of the case was written by someone who is so unaware of it is astounding, and if these facts were deliberately omitted, then it may be time to take a good, hard look at yourself and your sense of ethics.

  4. letcommonsenseprevail letcommonsenseprevail April 12, 2018

    The AED deliberators unless charged at the beginning of every sift, will always have less than 100 percent charge. Also, charging too frequently will also result in further battery degradation.

    Also, the APD only has 28 officers…Less than 10 are on duty at any one time. Even less on patrol duty. What this means is that the personnel resources are not really adequate for handling large crowds.

    It is SOP (standard operating procedure) to place any suspect or anyone under arrest or being detained in the back of a patrol car.

    incompetence on the part of the APD has not been proven, they followed both the law and standard police practices.

    The scene was secured in a “timely” manner as per CA POSt Standards.

    Could everything have been done better? of course, but that would require more police, which the residents of Arcata have actively tried to prevent…

    A tragedy yes, but the blame lies with the killer, not the police.

    Unfortenley the sad fact is that the national “clearance rate” for homicide today is 64.1 percent. Fifty years ago, it was more than 90 percent.

    this is due in large part to the underfunding shortfalls in resources and personnel available to the police agencies and also due to the public refusal to work with the police.
    The source from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2015/03/30/395069137/open-cases-why-one-third-of-murders-in-america-go-unresolved

    • Henchman Of Justice Henchman Of Justice April 16, 2018

      The scene wasn’t secured, that’s a big part of why people are bitching so much so don’t try to Cherry coat it and say the scene was secured…..you deceitful shill….. Common Sense isn’t letting a suspect vehicle be driven home by the suspect girlfriend’s mom who just so happens to be connected to a former public employee whose name is quite popular…… In Arcata AND McKinleyville……

      The only people who support government employees are the employees themselves, their family and their shoulder rubbing shills if you will….. It’s an open secret society and they don’t give a crud about anyone but themselves because it’s their job…..

  5. Henchman Of Justice Henchman Of Justice April 16, 2018

    Proposition 47 also fucked up the criminal justice system’s ability to catch criminals based on DNA……

    All felons were required to be forcibly tested for DNA results….. You know to catch serial killers and shit…… To solve unsolved crimes….. To make sure past arrests were proper arrests and that they got the right individual…..

    Note: the two ladies who just lost their lives on the highway 101 as they left TO AVOID (GUILT???) Josiah’s ceremonial Memorial……. Personally predicted prior to all information that the two who died would be connected to Josiah….. As the reports came out, just had a feeling come over that these two victims were partly responsible or wholly responsible for the death of Josiah….. People have been saying since the death that the women involved can’t be trusted….. NOT SAYING THESE TWO WOMEN KILLED JOSIAH BUT AM SAYING THEY KNEW SOMETHING….

    IRONY DOES NOT KILL FOR THE HELL OF IT…..

    AND WHAT’S THIS CLAIM ABOUT WHIPPETS BEING IN THE CAR AND WHAT’S THIS CLAIM ABOUT WHIPPETS BEING IN THE CAR? NO2?

    BASED UPON THE PICTURES, WHOEVER THE GIRL DRIVER WAS SLAMMED ON HER BRAKES AND SKID INTO THE PATH OF THE VAN AFTER LOSING CONTROL. MURDER-SUICIDE?

    IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS CALIFORNIA HAS HAD OVER A HANDFUL OF CARS DRIVING OVER A CLIFF WOW NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HAS JUST HAD SOME PLAIN BAD ACCIDENTS INVOLVING WOMEN…..

    IT’S JUST THE CURRENT PATTERN LOCAL SOCIETY IS HAVING TO DEAL WITH RIGHT NOW.

    SORRY FOR THE BOLD TYPE BUT SOMETHING SOFTWARE-WISE DOES NOT ALLOW THE KEYBOARD TO GO TO LOWER TYPESET SIZE……WEIRD, MAYBE SOMETHING WAS ACCIDENTALLY DONE AND THE USER JUST IS TOO STUPID TO FIGURE IT OUT.

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