LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Known as one of the pioneering architects of the civil rights movement, Rev. James Lawson Jr., for more than half a century, has been a force for justice and an influential teacher of non-violence. In honor of Rev. Lawson’s leadership in advancing worker and human rights, today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisors Holly J. Mitchell and Hilda L. Solis proclaiming Rev. James Lawson Jr. Day on his 95th birthday, September 22, 2023.
The motion also directs the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and Anti-Racism Diversity and Inclusion Initiative to create an awareness campaign that will launch this October to help educate residents throughout unincorporated communities on their rights and protections in the workforce.
“Rev. Lawson is a titan among us who has helped write the blueprint for standing up to racism and winning hard fought battles for our shared humanity with non-violence at the core. It is an absolute honor to join my colleagues in celebrating Rev. Lawson, I cannot think of a better way to say thank you for the impact he continues to have on countless lives.” said Supervisor Mitchell. “I look forward to September 22 being recognized across LA County and more residents being equipped with the resources and support to protect their rights.”
“Reverend James Lawson Jr. is a giant. He has devoted his entire life to racial, civil, and economic justice – creating a more just and equitable society along the way. I am proud to lead this effort with Supervisor Mitchell and hope that Angelenos throughout Los Angeles County take September 22nd to remember and commend the contributions Reverend Lawson Jr. has made to working-class communities, immigrants, and communities of color in Los Angeles County and beyond,” said Supervisor Solis.
At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Rev. Lawson shared what this acknowledgment means to him and the importance of government being in service to the people it represents: “…the dignity of every human being must be reflected in our own personal behavior, so I thank you very much for this resolution and wish you Godspeed. You represent all of us [here in] Los Angeles County and you must know that there are many of us like myself, who keep an eye on you from a distance and who want to see your continued good work. Government must be for the people, for all the people…”
In 1974, Rev. Lawson moved to Los Angeles, since then, he has served as a lecturer for the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and was the pastor of Holman United Methodist Church for twenty-five years in South Los Angeles. Rev. Lawson continues to share the teachings of non-violence and be a global voice in the ongoing fight for freedom and justice.