Stephen Lawrence Day


The date 22nd April 1993, the relevance the day that the young 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence’s life was cut short by a racist gang of white youth who attacked and stabbed him several times in an unprovoked attack while he waited at a bus stop in Eltham South East London in a case that rocked the country. Unfortunately, Stephen would later die from his wounds.

Several witnesses came forward in the following days, naming a gang that had been linked with several racist attacks in the area. The youth were all identified as suspects and arrested. Two out of the five would later be charged with murder after being identified by Duwayne Brooks who was at the bus stop with Stephen and managed to get away.

The prosecution would later be dropped with Duwayne Brooks’ ID evidence deemed unreliable. It would take the Daily Mail to run a headline featuring the five suspects with the headline ‘MURDERERS’, calling on the men to sue them if the paper was wrong. Later that year, the Macpherson Report, launched by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, concluded that the police investigation was “marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership.”

It was another 19 years before two members of the gang Gary Dobson and David Norris were brought to justice each receiving life sentences. Stephen Lawrence Day first observed in 2019 came about to encourage communities to open up a conversation about creating a fairer society while empowering young people to make the changes they would like to see and create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.

Steven Lawrence Day falls on the 22nd of April each year. A date which should be etched on all our calendars and never forgotten. Let it serve as a reminder that we cannot afford to become complacent with the small gains that have been made. Something to consider a comment made by Trevor Noah in regard to the George Floyd case. We all know that bad apples exist in the police force. If we are to believe that institutional racism is being tackled where are all the good apples (police) and what are they doing?

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