The mother of Stephen Lawrence, the south-east London teenager killed in an attack by racists nearly two decades ago, has launched a campaign to mark the 20th anniversary of her son’s death. Doreen Lawrence, in a report from the London Evening Standard, announced the new campaign will help change attitudes and that more will be done this year to combat racism. She expressed hope that the campaign will mean no other family would have to go through what she endured. It has been entitled “SL20 – the Legacy of Stephen Lawrence” and will be run by the charity organised by the Lawrence family.
With it being just over a year since the conviction of Stephen’s killers and the police still reeling from accusations of institutional racism, Ms Lawrence’s initiative will also incorporate an outreach initiative towards new police chiefs in the Met and across Greater London’s 32 city boroughs. Many members of ethnic minority communities still regard the police force with suspicion in light of perceived and actual discrimination against the young, Muslim and Afro-Caribbean communities especially.
The Stephen Lawrence Centre in the Saint John’s area of south-east London: headquarters of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
In commemoration of the campaign’s founding and in celebration of Stephen’s life, a concert is planned for this April along with a series of anti-racism lectures and a gala ball to raise awareness for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. The charity was set up in 1998 by Doreen and Stephen’s father Neville as an educational trust supporting disadvantaged youngsters in London’ s tough inner city areas. SLCT has helped dozens of youths escape poverty and gang violence, awarding over 100 bursaries for studies in architecture and urban design. Stephen Lawrence, a A-level student at the Blackheath Bluecoat School and Woolwich College, had dreams of becoming an architect at the time his life was brutally cut short.
Stephen had been waiting for a bus with a friend in the south-east London district of Eltham, when a gang of racists crossed the road and launched a vicious attack on them. The white youths hurled racist slurs at the two black British men, before ambushing Stephen and stabbing him twice. After a botched police investigation into Stephen’s murder which was tainted by incompetence and ingrained racist attitudes among some of the investigators assigned to the case, the killers were finally convicted in a cold case review and subsequent trial in November 2011. Gary Dobson and David Norris were sentenced to minimum terms of 14 to 15 years at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, as the court ruled they were still juveniles at the time.
SL20 CAMPAIGN: website
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“Doreen Lawrence launches campaign” – London Evening Standard 4/1/2013
Google Maps LINK
“About Us” – Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust LINK
“Murder of Stephen Lawrence” – Wikipedia LINK