It’s been 29 years since the horrific murder of Stephen Lawrence in southeast London, as the eighteen-year-old was killed in an unprovoked, racially motivated attack. In the years since, the tireless campaigning of his mother, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, has helped keep the spotlight on Stephen’s life and legacy – with the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation aiming to fight racial inequality and advocate for a more inclusive society. To reflect on both Stephen’s memory, and the crucial work the foundation that bears his name is doing today, the London Eye will light up in orange tonight (Friday, April 22).
Every year on April 22 (the date of Stephen’s death), the Foundation celebrates Stephen’s legacy and the progress made towards fighting racism, promoting equality, and celebrating diversity. Though there is a still a long way to go, the steps made in recent years are shaping a better society for all, and on Stephen Lawrence Day, we have an opportunity to reflect on the work done and the work needed to do next.
The Foundation’s Instagram page has been building up to today by tracing Stephen’s life (such as his ambition to become an architect) and the institutional racism and miscarriages of justice that meant nearly twenty years passed before anyone was brought to justice for his death. There’s also a touching video of familiar faces reaffirming the need to educate, make changes, and never forget the legacy of Stephen Lawrence.
Year-round, the Foundation helps to create career opportunities from underrepresented communities, helping with scholarships and apprenticeships. The lighting up of the London Eye in orange (the colour of the Stephen Lawrence Foundation) is just one of a number of events planned for today. An assembly broadcast to schools across the country features Baroness Lawrence explaining the significance of the day, whilst down in Brixton Village, there’s a pop-up exhibition that features work from students supported by the Foundation in place until April 24.
Head down to the South Bank or Brixton to get involved, and wherever you are today, do take a moment to reflect. We’ll leave you with the words of the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, as true today as they were back in 1993: “Stephen Lawrence Day is about the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish.”
You can find out more about Stephen Lawrence Day, and the Foundation’s work, on their website.
Also published on Medium.