For Anthony Lawson, a junior at California State University, Northridge majoring in psychology, among the benefits of receiving one of the California State University’s top student honors, is the opportunity it presents to share his family’s story and to remind others that, regardless of the obstacles they face, they have the strength to persevere and succeed.
Lawson received the honor, named for the former CSU Chancellor and his wife, in recognition of his “superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal accomplishments,” according to an announcement from the CSU Chancellor’s Office. As part of the honor, Lawson will receive a $10,000 scholarship.
Lawson, 20, of Perris, said he was humbled at being named this year’s Reed Scholar.
“I know I was competing against a lot of brilliant scholars, not just from my campus but from across the CSU,” he said, adding that the honor is a testament to how hard he and his family have worked to turn the tragic death of his older brother, David Josiah Lawson, into something positive.
Lawson was only 17 when his older brother, David Josiah Lawson, a sophomore at Humboldt State University, was killed at an off-campus party in the mostly white town of Arcata in Northern California. The assailant has yet to be prosecuted.
Lawson, his mother and 16-year-old sister continue to lobby for justice on his brother’s behalf. They have turned the support they have received, including monetary support through the sale of t-shirts in memory of his brother, into a platform to feed and clothe those struggling financially in Humboldt County. In fact, Lawson said, a portion of his scholarship will be going to those efforts.
“We continue to fight for justice, and we have a lot of confidence that good will come of this and that the situation eventually will be resolved,” he said. “In the meantime, we are waiting patiently and doing our best to benefit the community.
“When people see us, they see our skin color and assume the worst stereotypes,” Lawson continued. “What we are trying to do is show them the nurturing, loving side that my brother was able to see every single day when he was home. We are not going to be hostile. We are doing peaceful protests, fixing up the county by proving food and clothing for people who are struggling.”
He also spends time speaking at Black Lives Matter events, sharing his story and talking with people, hoping to cross racial and cultural barriers and help people understand that the pain caused by injustice is universal and that there are peaceful ways of making positive change.
It’s that desire to build bridges and help people that led Lawson to psychology.
“I knew I was interested in psychology while I was in high school, before my brother passed,” he said. “I’ve always loved talking to people, and helping people feel ‘normal.’ That’s how I see psychology, helping people not feel isolated or feel like the issues they are going through are unique to them. I know a lot of people think, ‘Am I the only one going through this? Am I different from everybody else?’ And that starts to make you feel isolated from the rest of the world. It’s something I’ve personally gone through. With my brother’s passing, I got a new reason for why I picked psychology — to be able to guide, counsel and assist other families that have gone through similar situations.
“Sad things occur in life, and they happen to everyone,” he said. “They happen when you least expect and to people who, never in a million years, think it could happen to them. I feel like it’s my job to show them that it’s possible to still live your regular everyday life, still be the supportive, loving person you are, while you are working to overcome these situations.”
Lawson has plans of going to medical school and becoming a psychiatrist. To that end, he spends hours each day on his studies — despite a job at a nearby lake and working as an actor part time — determined to get the best grades he can.
“I don’t know if I want to work with families, just adults or just kids, because I feel like I can have a positive impact on all those age groups,” he said. “I’m still pretty young, so I have some time to think about it. I just know I want to use my experiences to make a difference in people’s lives.”
College of the Canyons will host Grad Walk from June 2-5 to celebrate its 2021 graduates. The new take on commencement is a “personalized graduation experience,” according to Eric Harnish, the college’s public information officer.
With hundreds of in-person classes available during the fall 2021 semester, College of the Canyons is offering students and community members the opportunity to get back on track toward earning a degree or preparing for a new career.
California lawmakers passed a record $267 billion budget bill Monday that boosts spending on programs designed to fight climate change, prevent wildfires, build affordable housing and stimulate the economy with direct payments to taxpayers.
Family, friends and members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department gathered at Fire Station 131 in Palmdale Tuesday morning for a ceremony to honor firefighter Tory Carlon, who was killed earlier this month.
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials announced plans this week for a private flag ceremony and memorial service — both of which will be livestreamed for the community to watch — in honor of the firefighter killed in the Station 81 shooting on June 1.
In an announcement released on Monday, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, reported that he had secured $20 million in federal funding for the district to be included in pending legislation, with some of the money heading toward the Santa Clarita Valley if the bill is approved.
Demonstrating alongside the Hart District Teachers Association, members of the California School Employees Association Chapter 349 stood outside the district office last week in support of the ongoing negotiations concerning pay and benefits.
In the first four months of 2021, the District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges on 537 Santa Clarita Valley criminal cases — already 156% of the total number of declined cases for the entire previous year.
A virtual town hall Thursday brought together Los Angeles County Public Health officials to answer questions from the public about changes to coronavirus restrictions come Tuesday when California’s “blueprint for a safer economy” expires.