Justice for Josiah continues; students call for improved safety on campus

Despite CSU Trustees adhering to time-keeping that resulted in public speakers’ microphones being turned off, the message still came through loud and clear—the fight for justice for David Josiah Lawson is not over, nor are efforts to improve safety for students of color on all campuses.

Students for Quality Education (SQE) activists and Charmaine Lawson demanded that Trustees use their influence to seek justice for Humboldt State student David Josiah Lawson, who was murdered at a party near campus in April 2017. Their advocacy followed a decision by the grand jury in Humboldt County to not issue indictments in the case.

“This chamber has influence, it is time that you use it. It is time that you stand with me,” said Charmaine Lawson, whose son David Josiah Lawson was just 19 when he was killed. “My family entrusted you with my son. My son was an outstanding young man with a bright future. Send a message to (DA) Maggie Fleming that we will not tolerate white supremacists and hate bias towards people of color, especially students…This fight is long from being over. I will continue to fight for justice for my child.”

Charmaine Lawson asked Trustees to come with her as she and a team of professionals meet with the Attorney General’s office about the case. Trustee Adam Day said he would go with her. Later, student Trustees Emily Hinton told Charmaine Lawson she also would accompany her to the meeting.

Humboldt State student and SQE member Deema Hindawi told Trustees that some measures to improve campus safety, including lighting on a bridge, still have not been completed. Students also are disappointed with the administration saying that they don’t need additional safety groups on campus.

“Where is the safety for students of color on campus?” Hindawi challenged. “We do not feel safe and you tell us that nothing else is being added… If there really was safety on campus, David Josiah Lawson would be alive today.”

SQE recently launched its “No Harm, Disarm” campaign, which calls for the CSU to disarm campus police and security, and invest in additional mental health counselors and intervention teams, Black resource centers, and mandatory de-escalation and unconscious bias training for campus police and security.

Many who spoke during public comment during the March 20 Board of Trustees meeting had microphones cut after just a minute of testimony, under the guise of the meeting needing to stay on schedule and adherence to Board policy. The meeting started a half-hour early, and ended ahead of schedule.

To watch a replay of the Board of Trustees meeting, click here. Footage of the March 20 Plenary session is the last video located at the bottom of the page.