It’s Richard Lawrence week!

By | June 12, 2012 |

This week, San Diego is celebrating the many accomplishments of Richard Lawrence, a CPI board member.  On Thursday he will receive the San Diego Housing Federation’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, and the San Diego City Council has proclaimed today, June 12, “Richard Lawrence Day.”

Council President Tony Young authored the city proclamation “recognizing Richard Lawrence for a lifelong commitment to a ministry of interracial and economic justice, and celebrating all of his contributions to making a better San Diego.”

At CPI, we regularly celebrate Richard’s active and wise participation on our board.  He is a true leader in thought and action, and is deeply committed to fairness for all working people.

Many in San Diego know him as a leading advocate for affordable housing, a champion of civil rights, an inspirational speaker and singer, or all of the above. A retired Methodist minister, Richard is a powerful and articulate voice for social and economic justice.

Richard Lawrence, left, with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago

Affordable housing has been his core passion through much of his life. In the 1960s, he worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a bank boycott to protest discriminatory lending and hiring practices in Chicago. He also joined King in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

After retiring to San Diego, Richard founded the Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego County and helped bring together a responsible development alliance of labor, faith and community groups called ACCORD. He worked with CPI on an inclusionary housing ordinance and the city’s first Community Benefits Agreement, which required developers near Petco Park to fund affordable housing.

His latest project is the San Diego Community Land Trust, which he helped start in 2007 and continues to serve as a board member.  The land trust makes home ownership possible for low-income families and keeps the properties affordable for future generations.

Richard Lawrence is an inspiration, a good friend, a tireless advocate and, as the city proclamation states, “a true community hero.”  We at CPI are lucky to know him and have him on our team.