Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Jace Dawson.
Hi Dr. Jace, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Well, I was born of two military parents in Houston, Texas. At the age of two, we moved to Compton, California, I’ve lived in and out of the city of Compton in Los Angeles County since the age of two. We left California due to the overwhelming amount of violence and our home being shot up in the ’90s.
My parents settled back in Texas for a time where I focused on my studies during the week and my volunteer work at the nursing homes and church on the weekends. I started having issues in school due to me not knowing how to read and having difficulty learning. I struggled throughout school with bullies I was beating up on occasion just because of my mixed race background and my curly hair. I remember being called every name in the book and feeling so deeply depressed, between my father leaving home not being a part of my life due to the violence that I grew up witnessing throughout my community and the ongoing bullying at school. At age ten, I attempted suicide because it all became too much for me. I felt unwanted and as if my life would never amount to anything, if it wasn’t for watching This documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr that my teacher showed me, I don’t think I would have ever overcome what I was going through. Dr King taught me that through perseverance, I can stand up through my battles. And that forced me to want to know more regarding people who changed the world.
Through my teachers’ assistance, I learned about Mother Teresa, Cesar Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi and through church Jesus Christ. Something was born in me a fire that has never died since, I focused on reading and discovered that I had what is called dyslexia. Once I learned how to work with my dyslexia before I knew it, I was on the honor roll just to fast forward a bit. I was so on par with my school work I superseded the other students and graduated high school as class valedictorian at the tender age of 14. I then went to an HBCU called Texas Southern University where I became the youngest president of their international speech and debating in their 71-year history. And in my first semester winning my first international speech and debate championship. Being on that team traveling with a group of future politicians policymakers teachers leaders in their own right it build up my confidence in my mentality that I could positively affect change in my communities. My mentor Dr. Thomas Franklin Freeman also graduated high school at the age of 14. He was my philosophy professor at the University my speech and debate coach my pastor and my honorary godfather. It’s because of him that I am the orator I am today. With the debate team, I was able to speak and perform in mock trials and mock debates across the world in several countries including studying abroad in South Africa, Vancouver Canada, Prague Czech republic and other countries. I became the youngest president in the sigma pi alpha honors fraternity organization and through that, I entered the Mr personality pageant in Houston, Texas and became the first black and the youngest to ever be crowned.
Those memorable moments instilled more confidence in me that I could reach beyond what my bullies envisioned for me. There are things that happen in my life that derailed my way of thinking that made me think that I was less than but due to my early experiences and introductions to adulthood at a young teenager, I was able to overcome them. I came back to LA County specifically the city of Compton because I accepted the internship in the CNN building located in Hollywood working on the first Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. There I was able to develop a real skill set for community organizing and outreach. I became hungry to be the change that I wish to see versus sitting in the back seats complaining and wishing things would be different, I knew in those moments working on that campaign that I wanted to be an agent of change. I went to New York City where I studied and received my master’s one in sociology and another in mental health and community development. I worked for nonprofit organizations but the best work I did there was working alongside the New York City Council mainly in the Bronx New York. From there it was official I knew that one day I would want to run for public office I figured around 40 or 45 years of age I would do so when I was ready. Upon graduating, I relocated once again back to California, where I worked with multiple nonprofit organizations and volunteered my time with grassroots causes throughout underserved communities.
And in the midst of all of that work, I realized that time waits for no man and that serious situations were happening today that needed the attention of younger people like myself people underrepresented. I decided that I would run for office. I started by running for the very local neighborhood council where I won a position called the representative at large representing 31,000 constituents, unseating a 12-year veteran. In the midst of doing that, I was working as the executive director finances and human resources for one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the state of California and achieving my doctorate in mental health and human behavior with an emphasis on humanities. Not to mention becoming the youth pastor with my church unity fellowship while fostering children whose parents were kidnapped in my opinion, and left at the border in cages awaiting their return to Mexico. I worked with many major candidates running for state assembly, Los Angeles City Council, backing candidates for Compton City Council, and board of supervisors. As I stand here today as a person coming from two military parents who pulled me in and out of every school that I can think of.
As a person overcoming the worst bullying that a child could ever go through, mentally overcoming wanting to vanish from this earth altogether and finding my way through my heroes and history and my faith. I am proud of who and where I am today, and I am extremely proud to say that I am a candidate for Compton City Council 2nd District for the April 20th, 2021 elections. I feel as though my life calling is to serve community. It is my job and duty to teach and to be a forever student and to fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves. I want to be that agent of change for all the little boys and the little girls in this world who feel as though there’s just no place for them because the struggle is much too strong. I want to be a part of bridging communities and bringing resources to underserved areas like never before. I found my calling in life and I am moving forward with that. This is my story as long as it is, it is still merely touching the surface. And as God is my witness, I look forward to how my life is to turn out.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road not at all. I faced blatant racism, systemic racism and challenges from my own community. I was emotionally abused by relatives and friends who did not understand myself worth who made me think that my mind was overly ambitious and that I would never amount to anything or overcome any challenges facing my way. I had to deal with losing my mother’s only brother my uncle Jose at the age of 13 who was the main male influence in my life. I’ve had trouble bonding with the Latin community in LA County mainly because of my lack of knowing the Spanish language completely. My grandfather never felt the need to teach my father and in turn I was not taught. I’ve faced relationship challenges because most people you meet romantically want you for themselves and don’t usually understand my ambitions to help others. Or my professional goals in life and the reality becomes too much for them. An obstacle for me is getting people to understand my personal morals and values and that has been a challenge.
An example of that is you won’t find me walking around with my shirt off, it seems like the typical male thing to do but I’m just not that guy. I’m uncomfortable having sexual conversations unless it’s in an educational manner because I believe it brings on unwanted attention. As a person who has never taken a sip of alcohol in his life, who has never smoked weed or done drugs, as a person with no piercings and no tattoos. It has been a challenge to explain why that is without others becoming offensive. It’s just never been something that was appealing to me, it’s never been something that I wanted for myself. It is okay for the person to have the occasional drink, it is perfectly fine for persons to have the expression of oneself. But the challenge is always people being apprehensive to drink alcohol around me simply because I don’t drink it, it’s hilarious when you really think about it. Another obstacle was becoming a parent. While living in New York City, I fostered a newborn baby girl with the Latin background. I was supposed to have her in my household for just three days, but those three days turned into 15 months for the first year and a half of her life my home was the only home she had ever known.
Granted I requested a male child, lol but she prepped me to be a parent it was bittersweet when she was granted to return home to be with her mother. I attempted surrogacy for myself once I returned to California I’ve had failed attempts. I’ll tell you there was a failed adoption attempt with a friend who could not care for her unborn child and before the paperwork could be finalized The biological father’s parents decided to step up. And the surrogacy route was successful to start with, however just short of 3 weeks after finding out that my surrogate will be carrying twins belonging to me my genetic DNA she miscarried. It took roughly a year to get over that and to be honest with you, I don’t think any parent longing for their child to enter this earth ever does. Life is full of obstacles and challenges I just choose to meet them head on. The sooner I accept the reality I will change what I’m able to and what I am unable to change, I simply move on with my head held high.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
So I work in the nonprofit sector. Focusing on physical and mental health for youth and underserved communities in LA County. Not only am I a mental health coordinator but I’m also on double duty as the executive financing human resource manager. What I am known for is being an agent of change (Activist) in Los Angeles County. I have dedicated my entire adult life to fighting for causes on behalf of our seniors and our youth and equal rights across the board. What I am most proud of is teaching life skills to youth. Teaching them how to balance a budget, how to pay a light bill or file your taxes. Teaching the fundamentals of local government municipalities and much more.
In the midst of that, I am most proud of the organization that I created called push LA. Hey organization developed to assist transitional youth who are suffering from homelessness, sexual and drug abuse, and much more. The thing that sets me apart from others is my pure determination. Most people speak about problems and issues, but with my experience starting at such a young age, I focus on solvency. I’m all about growth and development which is all the learning experience, I have always stood out in the crowd because I’ve never truly followed the crowd. I simply speak up to be heard. Stand up to be seen. And Sit down to shut up. When it’s time to do so.
What matters most to you? Why?
What matters most to me is people believing in something greater than themselves. Most people wonder why that is, I’ll tell you why. As a spiritual person, I believe that there’s much more to us than the simple worldly behaviors that we come across. It breaks my heart when I noticed people value sneakers over another person’s life. It bothers me to know that people are more interested in rap or pop culture versus understanding the importance of voting and how it truly affects our day-to-day life. I believe that we have more things in common that unites us than the few things that separate us. And if we simply focus on those things, we would all be unstoppable in our own right.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: Jaceforcompton.com
- Instagram: Jaceforyou
- Youtube: Jaceforyou
Bored of supervisor for the second District Holly Mitchell.