The UK marks Stephen Lawrence day


For the third time since its 2019 inception, Stephen Lawrence day is being marked by the nation. 

It is a celebration of Stephen's life, a life that was cut short by a racist murder of a beloved son, on this day in 1993. 

We've seen the campaign work and fight for accountability led by Baroness Lawrence and Neville Lawrence continue ever since. The independent inquiry into his murder produced the 1999 macpherson report. This led to a formal recognition of institutional racism in the metropolitan police.

The conclusions to be drawn from all the evidence in connection with the investigation of Stephen Lawrence's racist murder are clear. There is no doubt but that there were fundamental errors. The investigation was marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers.

Sir William Macpherson, in the 1999 Macpherson report

Despite this, it would take the abolition of the double jeopardy rule - which stopped people from being tried for the same crime twice - and tireless effort from Baroness Lawrence, Neville Lawrence, other campaigners, in addition to the solicitor Imran Khan QC, before Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted almost 18 years after the act.

Both Stephen’s parents have remained vocal on the need to challenge racism throughout society. We do not need to look too far to remember Baroness Lawrence's emphasis on how structural racism fed into the disheartening outcomes we’ve seen during the covid-19 pandemic. 

On a national level, there have been few events in recent history that have highlighted the impact structural racism can have in working against black people as the search for accountability in Stephen’s murder. His Father Dr Neville Lawrence spoke of how the murder “opened the country’s eyes” to racism.

Stephen Lawrence day is aiming to foster change. Speaking in 2019, Baroness Lawrence spoke of her wish for Stephen’s name not only to be identified with his murder. She said that she hoped to highlight the impact Stephen left on this country through what she describes as the hope and inspiration he continues to give many young people.

This is why in addition to the celebration of Stephen's life, the Foundation carrying his name are continuing to work to assist development in the classroom, support communities, and help found people find opportunities in their careers.

It’s clear that the ongoing effort around these 3 c’s are needed more than ever. Given the events of the last 12 months and after the government has denied the existence of  institutional racism, it’s evident that the barriers to a truly fair society still exist. 

Stephen Lawrence day is aiming to keep these issues and Stephen’s life in focus.

Stephen Lawrence day event 

Mayowa Ayodele


A call to action...

For nearly 25 years OBV have fought to ensure Black and minority ethnic participation and representation in civic society. Efforts in continuing to do so though, relies on your help. That way we can continue this fight for greater race equality. What would give us a tremendous boost is if today, you made that small donation yourselves, but even more importantly if you encouraged others to do likewise.