LAWRENCE WEEKLY

NATIVE SON 

 

He is often mistaken for governor or urged by his former Ward 5 constituents to run for that office, which is to say that Commissioner Lawrence Weekly has been recognizably active in the valley since his appointment to Las Vegas City Council in 1999. Prior to nearly a decade in that office, Weekly served as ward liaison for Councilman Gary Reese and headed neighborhood outreach and community cleanup initiatives as a management analyst for the Neighborhood Services Department. A graduate of Grambling State University with a degree in communications, Weekly is the host of KCEP’s “Straight Talk” and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from UNLV. Since his swearing in as Clark County Commissioner in 2007, Weekly continues to hold food and clothing drives, job fairs and neighborhood town halls addressing issues as varied as the county he serves — from overcrowded schools on the valley’s eastside to the fate of the Moulin Rouge.        

 

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I have roots all over the state of Nevada. I was born right down the road at UMC, given up by a mother who was unable to care for me at the time, but who cared enough to realize her circumstances would not provide. I was a ward of the state my first months of life, before I was adopted and my parents carried me up to Reno, northern Nevada. I was seven when my parents divorced and we moved to Las Vegas.  It’s an old story; it’s the story of a woman who was faced with a child, and felt she had no support. It could have been a tragic story. But there is a sense of completion to it, how it all comes back full circle. I was essentially abandoned at the hospital where I now preside as Chairman of the Board.  When I walk those halls, when I attend meetings, the acknowledgement, the sense of being blessed and where I am exactly supposed to be never escapes me. From those who cared for me at my birth, to my adoptive parents, to teachers and coaches at Western High School, there have been folks who took the time to guide me, pull me aside. A village, a diverse village, poured into me. They asked, “Did you get your homework? Do you need a meal? Did you get your applications to school in order?” I went on to get my degree at Grambling State University in Louisiana. I majored in Communications, went into broadcasting.  In my 20’s, I wanted to be secure. Get the job, the house.  But I also knew that I wanted to serve. That was more important—needing to be of service.  I started to see the need, the absence of role models, the lack of exposure. We are still trying to embrace who we really are. As a community, we are all over the place. I saw the need, and still see the need, for cohesiveness so that the community can shine like the jewel it really is, bring out the value. There is work to be done. I wanted to do that work. Again, the village surrounded me. Wendell Williams, Frank Hawkins. I will never forget our mayor—Oscar Goodman—calling me in after I’d made it to City Council. He said he had something for me. It kinda scared me, in a sense. This is Oscar Goodman. But what he did, he gave me his gavel. It was the gavel he’d used on the bench, and he said, “I saw you.  I saw how you worked. I want you to continue.” This to me symbolizes justice. It means that in life you are going to get—and make sure that others receive—justice. We may not have it all together, but together we can have it all.  

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