Without Struggle, No Progress
ABOUT PASTOR BRIAN HAWKINS
Pastor Brian E. Hawkins started his life of service differently than most. He has come a long way from his early days of a difficult start, misfortune, and with few financial resources to draw upon.
His life story is a powerful and teachable example of how anyone can overcome a problematic start in life. Through sheer will and determination, he has become a Pastor, respected elected city Councilman and community leader.In 1996 his last year of high school, just seven days past his 18th birthday he became a victim of the unfair aspects inherent in the Three Strikes Law. He was charged with a crime that he did not commit and because he was seven days over 18 sent to jail. He and his family could not afford bail money or a good lawyer. So, he took the ill-advised advice of a disinterested Public Defender who told him to take a plea of nolo contendere. He could get out of jail with no “adverse effects”. However, there was an adverse effect as it became his first strike.In 1997, he had the misfortune of borrowing a car from a friend to get to work. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the car was stolen. Again, on the ill advise of the Public Defender pleaded nolo contendere. And, in 2004, the final strike came when his rental car he was driving was reported stolen because it was three days overdue. His friend with whom he rented the car forgot to call the rental agency for an extension. Misfortune, bad timing and the lack of adequate legal advice cost him ten early years of his life incarcerated.
Rather than staying a victim and feeling sorry for himself he summed the courage and commitment to make a change in his life. He chose to turn his early life experiences into a positive and meaningful lifestyle change for himself and others.
In his final years behind bars, Brian felt the call to not only save his own life but also to help others stuck in the same cycle of crime. Pastor Hawkins founded a mentorship and faith organization from inside state prison that prepared inmates for the world outside. His program offered fellow inmates the courage and the importance of strength to take control of their own lives through repentance and faith. Brian's sermons from inside prison attracted hundreds of inmates on a weekly basis.
In fact, it was so successful that it attracted the attention of the Senior Ombudsman of the California Department of Corrections and the Lt. Governor as a model for rehabilitation. A subsequent video was created highlighting his mentorship program. A picture of the young Brian Hawkins from that video is shown here.
In addition to his on-going mentorship, Pastor Hawkins working with the Warden acted as a mediator to defuse a potential explosive and violent interaction among the various groups within the prison namely, Skinheads, Bloods and Crips, Nortaneos and Surtaneous. Pastor Hawkins was credited as the peace maker with his intervention to defuse this potentially violent situation.
Whether from the pulpit or at the park across the street where he holds “office hours” in the community every week, Pastor Brian is laser focused on bringing people together.
Since being elected to the San Jacinto City Council, Pastor Hawkins has focused on bettering the lives of his constituents. As a councilman, he's accomplished lowering San Jacinto's crime rate, decreased the homeless population, launch major road repair initiatives, provided more funding for small businesses, and has been an active supporter of school choice.