Victim’s Story – LaWanda Hawkins
On December 6, 1995, LaWanda Hawkins was informed that her 19-year-old son, Reggie, had been found shot to death on the docks in her San Pedro community. Mere hours earlier, she had been in prayer for the family of a young man reportedly found murdered – not yet knowing her son was the victim. As the days turned to weeks and then months, with no answers regarding her son’s murder, LaWanda worked with other parents to form Justice for Murdered Children (JFMC) to provide a support system and a voice for victims of homicide. At the time of her son’s murder, Los Angeles County had 3,200 homicides. To this day, many of those cases, including Reggie’s murder, remain unsolved.
Yet since that time, LaWanda has been a force of nature – through JFMC, she has helped other families through the court system, attended vigils and marches, provided counsel day and night, held community events and, in 2007, co-signed Marsy’s Law in California. Then in 2011, LaWanda found herself again faced with tragedy. While in attendance at a neighbor’s party, her sister, Linda Whiting, was murdered. This time, however, justice was served and Linda’s murderer remains in prison for his crime.
Currently, LaWanda is a board member of Justice for Homicide Victims, Crime Victims United and Crime Survivors, in addition to her continued work as CEO-Founder of JFMC. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Department of Justice’s Volunteer for Victims Award which honors individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the lives of victims of crime.