Justice for David Josiah Lawson mural now complete

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Now complete, the Justice for David Josiah Lawson mural is now on display on the side of the D Street Neighborhood Center, facing Cal Poly Humboldt.

Kintay Johnson, President of the Eureka NAACP, who helped organize the creation of the mural, spoke to Redwood News about its conception.

“This all started probably about 18 months ago, just by happenstance, two people being in the same place at the same time,” Johnson said.

David Josiah Lawson was a Humboldt State student when he was murdered at an off campus party seven years ago. He was 19 at the time and no one has been charged in his murder.

“What a way to honor not only D.J. but his family and to remind the community that this up and coming, inspiring student leader that we had on our prestigious campus that’s here lost his life,” Johnson said. “But he’s here with us now. It’s just beautiful, it’s amazing.”

Last week, on Juneteenth, community leaders began painting a mural in Lawson’s honor. Benjamin Funke, another coordinator of the mural, explained why they chose the location.

“We chose the D street community center because it is a community healing project and the community center is a place where people can congregate,” Funke said. “This location is absolutely perfect for it. It was actually a really good wall, size is nice, it’s got great exposure, visibility from the school, from the road is really great.”

Adjacent to Cal Poly Humboldt, the location of the mural ensures that it will be seen constantly.

“To be able to have this mural here on a city-owned building, in this location, it says a lot about the character of the leadership that we have in this area. I want to say kudos to Karen Deimer, city manager, the city council members, because without their support, these kinds of things don’t happen here,” Johnson said. “It shows the character of those leaders, willing to take that step.”

The bottom half of the wall, where the mural ends, will be the backdrop for a living wall. Native flowering and fruit-bearing plants will be planted and grow along the bottom eight feet of the mural. 

“It’s beautiful,” Johnson said. “That’s my immediate reaction or feeling when I look at this wonderful piece of art that’s been done by our community.”

The mural was painted by professional muralists with the help of the community, Redwood News Reporter Savana Robinson included.