Acclaimed civil rights activist and UCLA College Lecturer Rev. James Lawson Jr. stood among national leaders including former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush on July 30 to eulogize late civil rights leader U.S. Representative John Lewis.
Lawson and Lewis met in the 1960s, when Lewis attended Lawson’s classes on nonviolent confrontation and civil disobedience. Lawson recalled Lewis and other civil rights workers, linking their early struggle to today’s ongoing racial strife.
“John Lewis must be understood as one of the leaders of the greatest advance of the Congress and the White House on behalf of we the people of the USA,” Lawson said.
He added, “If we would honor and celebrate John Lewis’ life, let us then re-commit our souls, our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our strength to the continuing journey to dismantle the wrong in our midst.”
Lawson co-teaches UCLA students in a unique course called “Nonviolence and Social Movements” with Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center.
In 2017, the UCLA Labor Center published “Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.,” a book that emerged from the class.
In 2018, Lawson himself was presented with the UCLA Medal for his contributions to the civil rights movement, the highest honor bestowed by UCLA. Read more about Lawson here: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/civil-rights-activist-james-lawson-awarded-ucla-medal.