Stephen Lawrence Day is commemorated every year on April 22, in honor of a black teenager who was slain in a racist attack on the same day in 1993. Lawrence was 18 years old when he was attacked and killed while waiting for a bus in Plumstead, south-east London. The suspects were apprehended but never charged. Lawrence’s race was said to have influenced how the case was handled. The Stephen Lawrence Foundation established Stephen Lawrence Day to honor his life and legacy, to inspire a more equal, inclusive society, and develop possibilities for the U.K.’s marginalized youth.
History of Stephen Lawrence Day
Stephen Lawrence, an 18-year-old black British teenager from Plumstead in south-east London, was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Eltham on the evening of April 22, 1993. The case became a media sensation, resulting in cultural shifts in attitudes toward racism and the police, as well as legal and police practice reforms. As a result, the double jeopardy rule was partially repealed. On January 3, 2012, two of the culprits were found guilty of murder.
Following the initial investigation, five individuals were apprehended but not charged. During the investigation, it was argued that Lawrence was murdered because he was black, and that race tensions influenced the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s handling of the case. The initial Metropolitan Police Service (M.P.S.) investigation was revisited in 1998 by a public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson, who concluded that the investigation was inadequate and that the force was institutionally racist.
It also proposed that in murder cases, the double jeopardy rule be eliminated to allow for a retrial based on new and persuasive evidence; this was accomplished in 2005 with the passage of the ‘Criminal Justice Act 2003.’ The “Macpherson Report,” which was published in 1999, has been described as “one of the most momentous occasions in the contemporary history of criminal justice in Britain.” According to Jack Straw, ordering the inquiry was the most important decision he made as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001. In 2010, the case was dubbed “one of the most high-profile unsolved racially motivated killings.”
Stephen Lawrence Day timeline
Nelson Mandela meets with the members of the Lawrence family at his own request.
Lawrence's parents file a private prosecution against three suspects, however, it fails.
Double jeopardy, a legal principle that bans defendants from being tried twice for the same offense, gets scrapped.
Doreen Lawrence dedicates the £10 million Stephen Lawrence Center to her late son.
Prime Minister Theresa May declares a national day to honor Stephen Lawrence's life.
Stephen Lawrence Day FAQs
Does Stephen Lawrence have siblings?
Yes. He has a brother and sister named Stuart and Georgina Lawrence, respectively.
Who was with Stephen when he died?
Stephen was waiting for a bus with his buddy Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, south-east London.
How old is Doreen Lawrence?
Born in 1952, Doreen is 70 years old.
How to Observe Stephen Lawrence Day
Join the ‘challenge accepted’ effort
In addition to remembering Stephen, the foundation is encouraging the public to join its #challengeaccepted effort, which asks people to commit to making a difference. Choose one of the three challenges: perform a simple act of kindness to benefit people in your community, express what living your best life means to you through your preferred art medium, or share Stephen's story.
Donate to the Stephen Lawrence Foundation
You can commemorate this special day by making donations. Visit the Stephen Lawrence Foundation for more information on how to donate and how your donations will be used.
Share a poetry recitation from Max Cyrus
In addition to taking time out of your day on April 22 to remember Stephen Lawrence, you can watch and share a film in which participants recite a poem written by musician Max Cyrus. To like and share the foundation's content on social media, use the hashtags #alegacyofchange and #becauseofstephen.
5 Harrowing Facts About The Justice System And Racial Prejudice
Black people receive longer sentences
In the United States, black males receive 19.1% longer sentences than white men convicted of the same offenses.
High detainment of people of color
People of color are more likely than white people to be detained multiple times.
Black people are more than four times more likely than white people to be subjected to restrictive interventions such as restraint or isolation while in the hospital.
P.O.C. get bullied for their race
A recent survey in the United States found that 15.8% had been bullied or harassed because of their race.
According to federal statistics, one out of every four students experiences racial prejudice at school each year.
Why Stephen Lawrence Day is Important
It creates awareness
. Stephen Lawrence Day was established by Baroness Doreen Lawrence to honor the achievements of Black minorities while also raising awareness of the racism that still exists today. It is observed on the anniversary of his assassination in a racial attack.
It gives the minority a voice
On Stephen Lawrence Day, minority groups from all over the world raise their voices and use the platform provided by Stephen Lawrence Day to try to effect positive change. It encourages everyone to participate in building a more equitable and inclusive society.
It honors Stephen Lawrence's memory
Stephen Lawrence, who was only 18 years old at the time, was brutally murdered in a racial attack, robbing him of his future and his family. On this day, Lawrence's memory and legacy are honored.
Stephen Lawrence Day dates