EAST CHICAGO | Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin Hawkins doesn’t look back on his accomplishments but instead focuses on current opportunities to help others.
“I really don’t look back because that is history and as long as I have life, I am pleased with the opportunities that are still out there,” Hawkins said. “I have a theological background. God gives everybody life, and the challenge is to make it as fulfilling and as meaningful as possible.
"To me, the way to do that is in service to other people. When you see the fruits of your labor, that is essentially the icing on the cake — when you inspire someone to do something positive.”
Hawkins is a nominee for the Gary Frontiers Service Club's 2014 Drum Major Award. The award, which is inspired by the "Drum Major Instinct" sermon given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. two months before his assassination, recognizes people who dedicate their lives to improving the human condition.
The presiding judge at the Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center in East Chicago, Hawkins said his main focus outside the courthouse and in relationship to the courthouse is his It’s Cool to Stay in School initiative.
“It is imperative that young people have a foundation and are equipped for the future,” Hawkins said. “You have to have a certain amount of education to deal with the future. This world is getting more and more complicated, and it requires more educational skills.”
There are schools with dropout rates of 50 percent or more in Indiana and across the nation, Hawkins said.
“If we don’t attend to that, this nation will be in trouble,” Hawkins said. “I have said it before. Our focus is on the war on terrorism. My biggest fear is that if we don’t attend to some issues in our backyards, we will breed domestic terrorism that we will not be able to control.
"If we can educate our populous, our young people, we provide avenues for them to flourish and grow. That is what we are trying to do with our program.”
In addition to going into the schools, there is a scholarship component to the program. Last year two $2,000 George Amaya Scholarships were awarded.
Hawkins was the first black Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in Indiana, serving more than 20 years. In his younger years, he was a civil rights activist and participated in the 1963 march on Washington, D.C.
Hawkins is on the board of trustees of Huntington University and vice president of the board of Indiana Legal Services. This month Hawkins was honored with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission Award. He also serves on the Rules Committee of the Indiana Supreme Court.