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Celebrating Stephen Lawrence Day

On April 22, 1993, 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death at a bus stop in Eltham in an u..

By admin , in London , at April 22, 2020

On April 22, 1993, 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death at a bus stop in Eltham in an unprovoked racist attack.

The police were heavily criticised for their investigation and, after years of campaigning by Stephens parents, a judicial inquiry was launched and the Macpherson Report was published.

Lawrence’s death marked a watershed moment in racial and cultural society in the UK, and 27 years later many are celebrating the life and legacy of the Plumstead teenager.

Here is some of the background, and the tributes paid this year on Stephen Lawrence Day.

Marking the second celebration of the event, sSeveral public figures, MPs, police forces and more have been paying tribute to the local teenager and his family.

Stephen Lawrence was born in Greenwich in 1974 and raised in Plumstead by Jamaican parents.

The eldest of three children, he attended BLackheath Bluecoat School, studying, excelling at sport and aspiring to become an architect.

He was murdered on the evening of April 22, 1993, whilst waiting for a bus in Well Hall in Eltham.

It was a racially aggravated attack, and his killers were not known to him.

Five years later, a Labour Government ordered a public enquiry into Lawrence’s murder. Five suspects had been arrested after an initial investigation, but none were charged and police were accused of botching the case on racial grounds.

Chaired by Sir William Macpherson, the inquiry concluded that the Met Police were institutionally racist.

The investigation had been ““marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership,” leading to fundamental changes in how UK police forces operate.

The publication of the Macpherson Report in 1999 has been called “one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain”.

After a further review, it was announced in 2011 that two of the original suspects were to stand trial for the murder and were found guilty.

It was suggested during the investigation that Lawrence was killed because he was black.

The impact of the case has been longlasting.

In 2012, Baroness Lawrence launched the Stephen Lawrence Trust to provide a positive legacy for her son.

“Justice for Stephen is about all of us, every one of us, in society having justice,” said Baroness Lawrence at memorial service in 2013.

In May 2019, De Montfort University launched its Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, with the aim of continuing his legacy as an educational resource for anyone interested in topics around race, racism and social justice.

Back in 2018, Theresa May announced that Stephen Lawrence Day would become an annual tradition which has been held ever since.

Whilst many events planned to mark the day have now been cancelled, the Stephen Lawrence Trust this year in particular is important to show how small changes and simple things can make a huge difference.

The trust said: “Stephen Lawrence Day is about the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish.

“It is an opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard, make the changes theyd like to see and create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.”