Honoring the Reverend James Lawson 9/9/12
September 9, 2012 - The 2nd Annual George Regas Award Honoring the Reverend James Lawson!
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Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) is thrilled to announce that the 2nd annual George Regas Courageous Peacemaker Award will go to Reverend James Lawson.
Join us on Sunday, September 9, 2012 at Holman Methodist Church
in Los Angeles to honor this true Courageous Peacemaker.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1928, Reverend Lawson came from a legacy of Methodist
ministers: his father and grandfather both served the church as ministers. In 1947, he
graduated high school and received his preacher’s license. While attending college
in Ohio, he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), America's oldest pacifist
organization. Through FOR, he was exposed to the nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and
fellow black minister Howard Thurman.
As a peace activist, Reverend Lawson became a draft resister during the Korean War, for
which he was sentenced to 3 years in jail and paroled after 13 months. After receiving his
Bachelor’s in 1952, he spent 3 years as a campus minister and teacher in Nagpur, India,
where he would earnestly read about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the resistance
movements in the United States.
He returned to the States in 1956, and in 1957, Lawson became active in changing things
around him. He enrolled in Vanderbilt Divinity School, opened a FOR field office in
Nashville, and began training people in Gandhian tactics of nonviolent direct action. He
drew upon Christ’s example of suffering and taught growing numbers of young black and
white activists how to organize in the face of oppressive conditions.
Reverend Lawson held fast that nonviolence “was deeply rooted in the spirituality of
Jesus and the prophetic stories of the Hebrew Bible.” He believed that the struggle for
civil rights was not just about politics but “a moment in history when God saw fit to call
America back from the depths of moral depravity and onto His path of righteousness.”
This path of righteousness led Reverend Lawson to help coordinate the Freedom Rides
in 1961 and the Meredith March in 1966. His contemporaries included Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., who stated that Lawson was “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence
in the world.” He moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to be the pastor of Holman Methodist
Church. Since then, he has been standing for social justice and speaking about issues that
affect marginalized communities, including standing against U.S. military interventions
around the world and standing for worker’s justice during the sanitation worker’s strike
in 1968 and the Janitors for Justice campaign.
We invite you to join us to honor our phenomenal leader Reverend James Lawson at his
home church, Holman Methodist Church, on September 9, 2012. Save the date, you do not want
to miss this event!
For a downloadable flyer, clickon the attachment below