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LaWanda Hawkins

2015 Volunteer for Victims Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

LaWanda Hawkins | Volunteer for Victims Award
Justice for Murdered Children
San Pedro, California

LaWanda Hawkins has been voluntarily serving homicide victims for over 18 years. In 1996, Ms. Hawkins founded Justice for Murdered Children when her only child, Reggie, was murdered at the age of 19. She found that after she was victimized by the death of her son she was re-victimized by the criminal justice system. To date, the murderer of her son has not been caught or brought to trial. 

Justice for Murdered Children is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to reduce the number of homicides and unsolved homicides, assist families that have lost loved ones to homicide, and improve the justice system by making law enforcement more responsive to homicide victims and their families. 

Ms. Hawkins is also on the Los Angeles City Mayor’s Crisis Response Team and is called to respond to homicides in the San Pedro, Wilmington and Harbor City areas. The Mayor’s Crisis Response Team is composed of community civilian volunteers that respond to traumatic incidents to provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and comfort needs, act as a liaison between the victim and emergency personnel, and to provide referrals to victims and their families affected by death, serious injury, violent crime, or other traumatic incidents. 

In 2006, Ms. Hawkins established a billboard campaign throughout Los Angeles County by posting billboards bearing photos of murder victims to raise awareness of gun violence and encourage witnesses to come forward and find suspects in unsolved murders. In 2008, she was a co-signer of Marsy’s Law which was enacted by California voters. Marsy’s Law empowered victims in California with several Constitutional Rights. 

Ms. Hawkins routinely speaks to San Pedro school children about crime prevention and gun violence as well as mentors students whose siblings have been murdered. She is called upon by Los Angeles Unified School District whenever there is a school shooting to speak to students about gun violence, grief, and healing. 

She has made a tremendous impact on the lives of victims in her community and state and has received several awards for her tireless work and efforts. Ms. Hawkins has never accepted or received any compensation for the work she does for the victims. She believes, “If I can save one child from being murdered, I have been paid in full.”

2015 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about LaWanda Hawkins, 2015 recipient of the Volunteer for Victims Award.