Reverend Cordell Hawkins - Offering healing for families and victims of Gun ViolenceRecipient of the Jefferson Award for his creation of the Annual Homicide Memorial Quilt
Image by Kat Wade
Image by John Storey
Hawkins was born and raised in Bayview-Hunters Point. He is the seventh of 10 children born to Daniel and Pearlie Hawkins, who migrated to San Francisco from the South and the Southwest in the 1940s. His mother helped establish the Double Rock Baptist Church in 1949, and there is a street, Hawkins Lane in Bayview, named after the Hawkins family for their contributions to the Bayview-Hunters Point community.
A graduate of Mission High School in San Francisco, Hawkins played running back at Humboldt State before being drafted in 1976 by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks (he left after he was injured that year). Hawkins holds a bachelor of science degree in physical education and graduated from the San Francisco Police Academy in 1979. He served on the San Francisco Police force until 1984 when he went into the ministry. Hawkins holds an degree in divinity from Fellowship Bible Institute in San Francisco and has pastored at Double Rock Baptist Church since 1999.
In 2002, Hawkins received the Hero of the Year Award from KQED and Union Bank. Hawkins has received various awards from senators and council members, as well as a letter from former President Bill Clinton on behalf of his work with the Victim Assistance Program. And through Jacqueline Rushing’s Young Scholars college preparatory and leadership development program in the Bayview, Hawkins mentors African American youths.
As a community leader who has three adult children, Hawkins is often asked about how to solve the problem of violence and homicides in the African American community. He believes the revitalization of the Bayview neighborhood will help provide employment and other opportunities for young people.
“The community has been neglected since the shipyards closed down in the early ’70s,” said Hawkins. “That knocked out a lot of jobs. Violence has taken its toll on the community. The average age of murder victims in San Francisco is 24. On our Homicide Quilts, the youngest victim is 7 weeks old and the oldest victim is 62. I think we need to reach out more to those who are young, get them early, at 6, 7 and 8, give them some direction and guidance.”