As we approach the third anniversary of the death of David Josiah Lawson, his mother encouraged Humboldt County’s Black, Brown and Indigenous college-bound seniors to apply for his honorary memorial scholarship.
“Students and parents, I know that this year was tremendously difficult with the pandemic,” Charmaine Lawson said through a video posted on the Justice for David Josiah Lawson Facebook page on Feb. 8. “But, I know for the students it was even more difficult.”
Charmaine Lawson said how grateful she felt for the Eureka NAACP continually working to provide opportunities for students through the memory of her son, David Josiah Lawson.
After the morning of April 15, 2017 when Josiah Lawson was fatally stabbed during an altercation at an off-campus house party, his mother has worked tirelessly to hold those involved accountable. Charmaine Lawson continues to travel from her hometown of Perris, CA to Humboldt County where she speaks with crowds of hundreds of people, demanding justice for her son.
The Eureka NAACP first announced the scholarship at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration in January 2018. The scholarship is available for Black, Brown and Indigenous high school seniors in Humboldt County.
Three scholarships are awarded each year. Two are awarded to students planning to attend a four-year university and the other one is awarded to a student planning to attend a two-year community college. Each scholarship is a one-time award of $500.
“Both of my children, DJ and Anthony, received several scholarships throughout their high school years,” Charmaine Lawson said in a press release by Eureka NAACP that announced the first set of scholarship recipient winners back in 2019. “They felt very honored and blessed to receive financial assistance from different organizations.”
It is through the David Josiah Lawson scholarship, vigils, food and coat drives, along with many other charitable acts, that Charmaine Lawson finds ways to honor her son.
Last June, hundreds of people congregated on the Humboldt County Courthouse steps for the 38-month vigil for Josiah Lawson. The wound of the racial injustice that Josiah has suffered felt fresh to those in attendance.
Mireille Román is a student at HSU, majoring in English writing practices and critical race, gender, and sexuality studies with an emphasis in ethnic studies. She spoke at the vigil about her frustrations regarding HSU’s response to the death of Josiah Lawson, questioning what the university has even done to honor their former student through the injustice that he has and continues to receive.
“There’s not a building or area dedicated to Josiah that says, ‘We see you,’” Román said as she stood in solidarity with the Lawson family.
Anthony Lawson, brother of Josiah Lawson, has consistently been alongside his mother in their fight to bring justice to their family. He has valued the obstacles that him and his family have had to endure, pushing himself to persevere and succeed.
The CSU Board of Trustees honored him as the 2020 winner of the Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. and Catherine Reed Scholarship for his University, CSUN. It was there where Anthony Lawson honored his brother and reflected on all the ways that he and his family have accomplished over the past couple of years.
Although Charmaine Lawson is inevitably compounded by grief through the failures of Humboldt’s judicial system, she feels like keeping his name alive by helping others is what best reflects the kind of character that was Josiah Lawson.
“It’s scholarships like the one that my mom started at Humboldt that benefit other students who are struggling financially and we just want to show them that we aren’t just there for our family, we are there for the entire Humboldt community,” Anthony Lawson said to the CSU board of trustees.
More details on the scholarship: https://acc2b65b-de53-412f-afe1-dfb07c852025.filesusr.com/ugd/62031f_af9fd1c39e6d48bfa201a1f2cd986aa8.pdf