Thank you for sharing the voice of Charmaine Lawson. Her grace, poise and strength in the aftermath of pain most of us can't even imagine is inspirational. Charmaine sent her son to school in Humboldt and we failed to protect him, from our racism, our inadequate and ineffective services and our lack of understanding of reality, leading to the perpetuation of discrimination (knowingly or not). This failure belongs to all of us because these problems have gone unacknowledged and unchecked for too long. This failure belongs to the old, white hippies who believe in their hearts that everyone is equal, just as much as the overtly prejudiced white nationalists we pretend don't have a voice in a town like Arcata.
At the February 15 vigil for David Josiah Lawson, circling motorcycles drowned out the words of Charmaine and others speaking on the Plaza. When it was pointed out by a woman of color that this was on purpose, the look on one white women's face said it all: shock and confusion. Liberal white people who are committed to making Humboldt a better place need to stop living in a dream world and accept the reality of the situation for us to move forward and actually affect change.
Every time I hear Charmaine speak or read her words, I am in awe of the gratitude she expresses to a community that needs to work so much harder to deserve it. Charmaine described her son as "a loving, caring, compassionate and ambitious man with integrity." It is clear how he became that way and it is clear that Humboldt County needs to learn those same lessons before we are able to become the community Charmaine and the family and friends of David Josiah Lawson deserve. #JusticeforJosiah
Melody Soper, McKinleyville
Dear Charmaine Lawson,
For the love of our people and earth
I am a mother who sings in prayer enroute by your sons circle multiple times a day
not a close enough neighbor to have been a witness then
a wake up, a jolt, I am a witness now
I am investing my tears with a daily practice of integrity and supervision
Omming with the community at the plaza farmers market gave me confidence in the community.
I saw wisdom and love, I know we are capable
I hope our community continues to work for daily justice and true accountability
I want a sculpture in that circle that says
I had a
at my high school
we had unity and we were reminded daily
I was taught ethics and tolerance at school
we must insist on educating ourselves
Public Art is needed.
Thank you for creating a human who became a beacon for raising humanity,
creating unity and teaching a community
May I continue to be enlightened from his universal jolt
Your courage is exalted
your words are heard and welcomed
I love you.
May his memory be for a blessing
Amanda Haas, Arcata