Grieving Mom's Billboard Campaign Seeks Justice for Cold Case Killings: 'Not Just About My Son'
LaWanda Hawkins wants answers.
Through a series of billboards and bus shelter posters featuring the faces of victims of unsolved killings, she asks: “Do You Know Who Murdered Us?”
The 59-year-old accountant launched the Los Angeles County-based campaign in March in hopes of helping police solve cold-case killings.
“We’re going to continue to bring some awareness to these unsolved homicides,” Hawkins tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “These kids were murdered and these cases are unsolved, and somebody knows besides the murderer and the victim who did this … We’re not getting the attention that I feel we need. There’s no crime worse than murder.”
For more about LaWanda Hawkins’ important campaign, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands tomorrow.
Hawkins, who advocates for families of homicide victims through her nonprofit, Justice for Murdered Children, says outdoor advertising company Clear Channel donated the space. The billboards will rotate every four weeks to spotlight different victims, while the bus-shelter posters feature 48 homicide victims whose cases remain unsolved.
Some of the victims include 17-year-old Jahaira Keys, who was hit by a stray bullet fired into a crowd outside a nightclub in 2007; 15-year-old Desirree Haro, who loved the Spice Girls and football and was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2003; and 20-year-old Anthony Iniguez, a father of two who was fatally shot while riding his bike home from a friend’s house in June of 2017.
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The campaign is close to Hawkins’ heart: Her own son, Reggie, was murdered in 1995.
“It was out of my wildest dreams,” she says. “I could have never ever imagined. We had plans. We were so happy.”
Her new campaign, though, is “not just about my son,” she says. It is about finding justice for all murder victims.
Capt. Billy Brockway, who is in charge of LAPD’s South Bureau homicide division, says Hawkins “has put her arms around everybody.”
“She’s never going to forget what happened to her loved ones. She’s never going to let anybody forget what happened to almost everybody else’s loved ones, because they’re all part of a fraternity they don’t want to be part of,” Brockway tells PEOPLE. “They want to make sure that those bad guys get off the streets.”