Stephen Lawrence Day
Stephen Lawrence Day this year seems quite fitting coming less than 48 hours after the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer.
Just to draw your attention to the fact that today is Stephen Lawrence Day. This seems quite fitting coming less than 48 hours after the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer.
For those of us over a certain age, Stephen’s story and legacy are etched in our consciousness, but it wasn’t until I noted that he was murdered 28 years ago that I realised that quite a few people in the team were not even born when Stephen died and many more might have been too young for what happened to him and what followed to really resonate.
The Stephen Lawrence Day website https://stephenlawrenceday.org/ contains some very informative links and summarises Stephen’s story thus:
Stephen’s story is both challenging and inspirational. He was a normal young person who made the most of everyday opportunities. Although his life was short, Stephen provides a positive role model of a life well lived.
Stephen Lawrence was born and grew up in south-east London, where he lived with his parents Neville and Doreen, his brother Stuart and sister Georgina.
Like most young people, he juggled an active social life, school work, family commitments, and part-time employment. But he also had ambitions to use his talent for maths, art, and design to become an architect, and wanted to have a positive impact on his community.
Tragically, his dream of becoming an architect was never realised. On 22 April 1993, at the age of just 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn’t know his killers and his killers didn’t know him.
After the initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, which has been called ‘one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain’.
It led to profound cultural changes in attitudes to racism, to the law and to police practice. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination of all forms and new equalities legislation.
It was the publication of the Macpherson report that first introduced the concept of institutionalised racism to a wider audience in this country. Although there are those who continue to deny or minimise its existence, Stephen’s murder and the corrupt investigation into it is concrete evidence to the contrary.
Stephen’s parents, Neville and (particularly) Baroness Doreen Lawrence have channelled their grief into working for change and justice since Stephen’s death through the formation of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and, more recently, the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation.
There is a short but very powerful video produced by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation that you can watch by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk-Tc2g5hSc.
There is a much longer discussion hosted by Stephen’s brother that is also very interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hyNTDowba0