770 proudly celebrates “Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. Day” on September 22, 2020. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to commemorate the 92nd birthday of Reverend Lawson, America’s civil rights icon.
Rev. Lawson has been a powerful force for nonviolence and social change since the 1950’s. “Reverend Lawson was a leader of the Nashville sit-in movement, which challenged Jim Crow and inspired and mobilized a new generation of young leaders –who led sit-ins, marches and freedom rides. In doing so, they changed the course of U.S. history. He was a leader of the Memphis sanitation workers strike, which forged an unprecedented alliance between the civil right and labor movements…”
“Since coming to Los Angeles in 1974. Reverend Lawson has emerged as an energizing force for nonviolent social change. He has worked to transform the labor movement, been on the frontlines with the hotel workers; engaged in civil disobedience with service employees and janitors; and walked picket lines with home care workers,” as noted in the book edited by Kent Wong “Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James M. Lawson Jr.”
He has been our political strategist as well as our organizational moral compass, advising UFCW 770 since the early 1990’s. He marched with us during the 2003-04 strike and has advised us through a variety of campaigns since then. He guided us with his years of experience in creating change through nonviolent campaigns. He joined us at our Workers’ Center in Huntington Park, at the inauguration and swearing-in of our current Executive Board leadership, and at our rallies in support of better union contracts for working people.
We celebrate Rev. Lawson today and every day and continue to push ourselves to live up to the example he has so powerfully set.
Rev. Lawson’s leadership shows us that each and every one of us need to keep fighting for a new society free of racism, sexism, violence, and structures of oppression. As he often refers to in his powerful speeches, we’re all a human family. Rev. Lawson urges us all to recognize the power within ourselves and he reminds us that we’re capable of building a life with love, democracy, liberty, and equality for all regardless of gender, race, faith, and economic status.
Let’s honor Rev. James M. Lawson Jr. legacy today and every day!