Stephen Lawrence Day on 22nd April 2021.
The third national Stephen Lawrence Day, which takes place on Thursday 22 April 2021
On 22 April 1993, Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially motivated attack, carried out by a group of white men.
As the 28th anniversary of Stephen’s murder approaches, his mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence pays tribute to her son.
His murder, and the subsequent investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police, shone a spotlight on the racist attitudes prevalent in Britain, with his father, Dr Neville Lawrence, saying that his murder had “opened the country’s eyes” to racism.
Stephen Lawrence was an innocent, young, Black man. He was an aspiring architect, full of drive and passion. He was only 18 years old when he was brutally murdered in an unprovoked, racist attack
Before his murder, Stephen had been waiting for a bus with a friend, who managed to escape unhurt, but Stephen died from his injuries.
Police began an investigation into suspects who they believed were involved in the attack, however it was the opinion of many that the police weren’t doing enough to bring the killers to justice.
Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa at the time, even met with Stephen’s family and called on the police to do more.
“Stephen Lawrence has been an example to us all. We did not want it to get that bad and it is so sad that it took the death of a young black male to realise there is a problem in society. We need to have conversations to make the change, and it all starts with us.”
His murder unapologetically exposed the deeply rooted institutional racism – something insidious, sometimes subtle, but always with harmful effects – still alive in the policing and justice system today.
On this day of reflection, we must look upon institutional racism, and what we must all do to fight it. It is a day to consider how far we have come and how much further we have still to go. It is a day to acknowledge the role of every individual in driving real societal change and forging a space of inclusivity and equality.
In this context, it has become even more important to keep Steven Lawrence’s legacy in the national consciousness and to continue fighting against the institutional racism that the Macpherson report highlighted 21 years ago.
This Day will force us to confront the disturbing – but honest – truth of the institutionalised racism persisting in British society.