But still no justice for David Josiah Lawson and his family
On the 15th of every month for the past 17 months the advocacy organization Justice for Josiah, which is led by his mother Charmaine Lawson, holds a vigil in memory of David Josiah Lawson in the wake of his murder.
This month the vigil was held at the Manila Community Center, adjacent to Josiah Lawson and his friends most cherished beach.
“I chose this spot today because my son loved the beach,” Charmaine Lawson said. “I wanted to be in a place were my sons presences was often.”
There were around 30 to 40 in attendance. Community members, Humboldt State University faculty members and family and friends of David Josiah Lawson gathered around to eat barbecue and listen to music.
This did not detract from the seriousness of why people were gathered that day. Many wanted to talk about both the lack of transparency within the HSU administration and Arcata Police Department and overall trust in them.
Sylvia DeeRoy, a local community member and HSU alumni, said she has had enough of HSU President Lisa Rossbacher and the HSU administration’s avoidance to answer questions they deem vital for family and friends of David Josiah Lawson, and other HSU alumni.
“Ages have gone by,” Derooy said. “As an alumni (Rossbacher) doesn’t even care about me.”
The vigil happened 25 days after the Aug. 20 roster release of the HSU’s predominantly African American student clubs to the Arcata Police Department. Many community members are unaware of this but those who are seem to take a deep frustration with the events that have transpired.
Meg Stofsky a community advocate and member of the Justice for Josiah Movement, had words that seemed to resonate with many at the Vigil.
“I thinks it’s racist as hell,” Stofsky said.
Although there has been a deep mistrust of the HSU Administration and Arcata Police Department, many family and friends of Josiah say they appreciate the community support of those who know or didn’t know him.
Berenice Roman, a student at College of the Redwoods and friend of Josiah, said that although she is frustrated and this situation is difficult, she is glad some in the community are concerned and willing to support them and Josiah.
“It’s really cool that people in the community are mad about it, and are still coming to support Ms. Lawson and his friends,” Roman said. “It just makes us feel like we are not alone.”
As the day drew on, the vigil turned its sights on the remembrance of the memory of David Josiah Lawson. Charmaine Lawson, aunt of Josiah Stacey, and friends Alex Foster and Karim Muhammad led the walk to Josiah and his friends’ favorite beach.
Charmaine lead community members following the vigil and attendees chimed in harmony the ethos of these vigils and protest:
“Justice for Josiah, long live D.J. and say his name, Josiah!”
The procession winded down to the beach as their calls for justice echoed out into the humboldt-sphere. After, the vigil attendees gathered in a circle with their hands clasped together, which was formed around hearts with texts inside them that read, “Josiah” and “D.J.”
Attendees were asked to go around and say something about Josiah that they remembered, or the reasons for why they were there that day.
No one seemed to be able to get a word out without a semblance of confusion or sorrow.
The vigil ended with the symbolic throwing of roses and petals into the ocean. Although this was supposed to be the most powerful image of the vigil Charmaine Lawson’s words seemed to transcend the moment.
“I know he is not here in the physical but he’s here in spirit,” Lawson said. “I know he is shining and saying ‘Mom thank you, for not forgetting me and thank you strangers who are now family for being here and standing with my mom and our family.’”