Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr. was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Ohio. From a very young age, he was greatly impacted by the influence of his family, his congregation, the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and his parents: Philane May Cover and Rev. James Lawson, Sr. As a consequence, when he was in high school, he opposed all forms of racism and religious bigotry and began to study the teachings of Gandhi while in college. He soon realized that what he was practicing could be called nonviolence. In his twenties, he recognized the need to oppose the draft and, therefore, refused to report when he was drafted for the Korean War. He was arrested in 1951 and served fourteen months in prison as a draft resistor. After his incarceration, Rev. Lawson traveled to India as a Methodist missionary and followed in the footsteps of Gandhi to further his study of nonviolence. Upon his return to the United States, he studied at the Graduate School of Theology at Oberlin College in Ohio. On February 6, 1957, Rev. Lawson met face-to-face with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following an event at the college. At the culmination of the meeting, after explaining to Dr. King that he planned to eventually move south, Dr. King said, “Come now – we need you now. We don’t have anyone like you down there.” Shortly thereafter, Rev. Lawson decided to move to Nashville to be closer to the emerging Nonviolent Direct-Action Movement. Rev Lawson enrolled in Vanderbilt’s Divinity School and taught nonviolence to many future civil rights leaders, including Diane Nash, John Lewis, James Bevel, Marion Barry, and Bernard Lafayette, among others. He was, eventually, expelled from Vanderbilt for his political activism. However, in 2006, Vanderbilt formally apologized to Rev. Lawson and appointed him to their faculty. The university later created the Lawson Nonviolence Institute. In 1974, Rev. Lawson moved to Los Angeles, where he became pastor of Holman United Methodist Church for twenty-five years. He continued his social justice work locally and nationally. He believes, just as Dr. King, that all work has dignity. He has worked extensively with a wide range of unions and other organizations that fight against poverty, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and the anti-war movement. Rev. Lawson has received honorary degrees from over twenty colleges and universities around the country. He has taught at many schools, including Vanderbilt, Harvard Divinity School, Claremont, and USC and continues to teach nonviolence strategies at CSUN and UCLA, through its Labor Center. The fourth Saturday of each month, Rev. Lawson teaches a Nonviolence Workshop that has been ongoing for more than twenty years. Rev. Lawson is the wonderful husband of Mrs. Dorothy Lawson, father of three sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Josephine Bonita Isabel was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was educated in the Memphis City Schools. Very bright, she remained at the top of her classes throughout grade school, graduating co-valedictorian of her high school class and winning full scholarships to LeMoyne College. After her third year at LeMoyne, Dr. Isabel-Jones chose to matriculate at Meharry. While at Meharry Medical College, Jo completed an internship at D. C. General Hospital and returned to Memphis, where she became the first African American resident at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Dr. Isabel-Jones completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at UCLA, becoming the first African American woman board certified in that specialty. She continued her entire career of more than 50 years at UCLA. Her pioneering spirit became apparent as she introduced many procedures to the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory and started the first pediatric echocardiography laboratory at UCLA. “Dr. Jo”, as she was affectionately called, is cited by many graduates of UCLA School of Medicine as a role model in the development and success of their careers. Selected from a faculty of over 1700 members, Dr. Jones was the second female and the first African- American honored with the Sherman M. Mellinkoff Faculty Award from the UCLA School of Medicine. Most of Dr. Jo’s life has been committed to social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. As an undergraduate student, she was one of the organizers and original participants in the students’ civil rights movement of the 60s whose arrest in the Public Library led to the desegregation of the library and other public facilities. Dr. Jo founded and chaired the first faculty diversity committee at the David Geffen School of Medicine. For several years, Dr. Jo volunteered her services as a pediatric cardiologist at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital. Dr. Jo’s work extended far beyond the university and local hospitals. She traveled to Zimbabwe in 1992 and in 1997 to Arequipa and Lima Peru. Over several years, she was part of the Peru Medical Mission. Jo and her husband, Earl, have enjoyed a great life together, raising their four children , enjoying the company of their nine grandchildren, working in the church, traveling with the family and the Double Ring Club ( a couples group started over 50 years ago!), bicycling, bowling, playing tennis and softball, and as sports spectators.
Born in Texas and proudly raised in Compton, California, the All-American athlete was offered scholarships to 27 of the nation's best schools. However, he chose to attend the University of Utah as the school's first black athlete because it was the only school to offer him a "Million Dollar Education". Graduating with a degree in physiotherapy, Marvin was drafted at the age of 20 by the greatest coach of all time, Coach Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. Fortunate to be the first athlete to play in 5 Super Bowls, Marvin also won 3 World Championships with the Packers. After 7 years with the Packers, where he won Super Bowls 1 and 11, Marvin played out his option and joined the Miami Dolphins to play for another legendary Coach, Don Shula, for 6 years. In addition to playing in 3 Super Bowls for the Dolphins, Marvin was a member of the historic 1972 " Perfect" Season Miami Dolphins, the only team in NFL history to remain undefeated for over 50 years. Upon retirement, Marvin went on to enjoy success in a variety of careers including as a motivational speaker, actor, real estate investor, and sports agent. A gifted photographer, an avid golfer and a Vespa scooter enthusiast, Marvin has a real appreciation for meeting new people and learning about their life's journeys in an effort to broaden his own horizons. As Marvin considers himself to be one of the most fortunate NFL players ever, he is committed to giving back. He has played in 100s of charitable tennis and golf tournaments over the years, to support countless causes with a special interest and emphasis on children's hospitals and healthcare initiatives both in the U.S. and Canada. As an accomplished skier, Marvin has participated in many fundraisers for special needs skiers, admiring their courage and determination. Marvin often returns to Compton to lend his support for educational, historical and healthcare initiatives when needed. Marvin is a dedicated mentor and supporter of underserved students in Compton and other inner-city communities. "The harder you work the luckier you get" and" Stay out of trouble" are timeless words of guidance Marvin shares with the students as he encourages them to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals . Marvin really enjoys delivering motivational talks at schools as well as at Boys and Girls Clubs in hopes of being able to inspire and encourage the kids' successes.
Lydia Cincore-Templeton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ms. Cincore- Templeton is a member of the California State Bar. She is a Missionary and Children’s Rights Attorney who has spent the past 25 years serving children, foster youth and families living in poverty. As a Missionary, she spent years on the continent of Africa serving orphans and families left as refugees as a result of two civil wars. As an attorney, Ms. Cincore-Templeton worked at the largest pro bono law firm in the country serving children and families living in poverty. She is currently the Director of the Children Youth and Family Collaborative (CYFC) in Los Angeles, California. The agency provides educational and support services to foster youth. The agency is the recipient of the prestigious Innovation Grant from the Obama Administration, which included a 3.5 million dollar grant for the A.R.I.S.S.E. Program Model. In addition, this organization has received grants from Bill and Melinda Gates, Annenberg Foundations and every major foundation in Los Angeles. Lydia is a true community servant. She has received awards, including the Makers Recognition which is a national honor bestowed on women like Oprah Winfrey, Marian Wright Edelman, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner and other great women making notable contributions in our country.. Her lifelong aspiration has been to level the playing field for youth in foster care and youth living in poverty, so that they are equipped to compete fairly with their peers She is married to Joseph Templeton, Esq. and is the daughter of Vera R. Cincore and the late Sterling Cincore, Sr., and sister of Verdelia R. Cincore, M.D, and Sterling Cincore, Jr.