Stephen Lawrence Day - 22 April
Today, Friday 22 April, is the fourth annual Stephen Lawrence Day, named for Stephen, an 18-year-old black teenager who was killed in southeast London in a racist attack in 1993.
Stephen Lawrence Day was created by the Stephen Lawrence Foundation as a celebration of his life and legacy and "to inspire a more equal, inclusive society, and to foster opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK".
To celebrate Stephen's life and legacy, we asked some of our colleagues what Stephen Lawrence Day means to them:
Kirsty, Head of Operations (Homes and Opportunities)
"I clearly remember the death of Stephen as I was the same age as him at this time. It was disturbing to learn that the suspected murders had been released; due to the way the police had conducted the investigations, it seemed unthinkable. This was the first time I had heard of institutional racism, as I had quite naively thought at this point all people were treated equally in England at least, how young and naïve I was".
Tola, Head of Operations (Income and Communities)
"I remember hearing about the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and feeling so sad and angry at what had happened to him. Since then, his family – his Mum, in particular, have campaigned and fought for justice for their son – launching the Stephen Lawrence Day foundation in 2020 – to keep racial inequality on the agenda and focus on actions to achieve equality in Stephen's name, so how can I not support it?".
Kulli, Supported Living Housing Manager
"At the time of Stephen's death, I was 13 and didn't really have the understanding or awareness of what was going on - all I remember was it felt wrong that someone had been attacked and killed while waiting for a bus. As I got older, I learned more about what actually happened and the injustice. It's sad to say that discrimination is something I am only too familiar with through lived experience. We all have a duty to call out racism and remember Stephen's life and legacy".
Danielle, RWP Connect Officer
"I was almost nine when Stephen Lawrence was murdered; I didn't understand how this could happen to someone. I remember this being my first real experience of hate crime, although that was not the perception at the time. It was shocking and upsetting. I was worried that this could happen to my Dad or my uncles and what would happen to my brothers growing up. While unnecessary, devastating, and a huge cost to all who loved him and a nation of outraged strangers, Stephen's death led to continuous campaigning for action, forcing voices to be heard, conversations to be had, and people to be called out. He was and will forever be remembered for what he gave to our nation, positive change for equality, which I believe contributed to mass reform around how hate crime is investigated under criminal law.
"Stephen Lawrence day means for me freedom and confidence that I am protected and valued and that through this injustice, society has and is being taught to be better and do better!"
You can find out more about The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation and the work it is doing with schools, businesses and the government at: stephenlawrenceday.org/stephen-lawrence-day