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james lawson

Mayor Bass Issues Statement Following the Passing of Reverend James Lawson Jr.

En Español


LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass today issued the following statement: 

“Today Los Angeles joins the state, country and world in mourning the loss of a civil rights leader whose critical leadership, teachings, and mentorship confronted and crippled centuries of systemic oppression, racism and injustice. 

“Reverend James Lawson Jr.'s life and legacy reverberates in the continuing movement to advance social and economic justice in Los Angeles and beyond. He dedicated his life to equality and justice and helped train a generation of national leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis in nonviolent protest. These teachings changed the course of history. 

“Here in Los Angeles, Reverend Lawson taught many activists and organizers and helped shape the civil rights and labor movement locally just as he did nationally. 

When Community Coalition first started, Reverend Lawson was gracious enough to meet with young people we were working with in South Los Angeles and teach them about the civil rights movement while training them in non-violent protest strategies. Reverend Lawson was also an invaluable mentor to me – I continued seeking his counsel throughout my time as an organizer, an activist and as an elected official. He was there for me as I know he was there for countless civic and faith leaders here in Los Angeles who were guided and influenced by his teachings. 

“Through his service as pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles for 25 years and professor at CSU Northridge, UCLA and more, Reverend Lawson continued to inspire those around him to strive for the betterment of L.A. His teachings now live on in each of us as we continue to push the needle on social and economic justice. 

“My thoughts are with the Lawson family as we join them in the mourning of this great giant.” 

More information about Reverend Lawson: 

Reverend James Morris Lawson, Jr. is credited as the architect of the Civil Rights Movement, which played an integral role in the nonviolent protests of the South in the 1960s. Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Reverend Lawson moved to Los Angeles in 1974, were he served as a minister for more than 25 years at Holman United Methodist Church until his retirement in 1999. After his retirement, he remained active with preaching and teaching engagements throughout the country along with conducting nonviolence workshops locally and overseas.