Stephen Lawrence Day – Legacy of Change: We all have the power to make a difference
Sixth Form students have been learning about Stephen Lawrence this week as part of national Stephen Lawrence Day. The theme is “We all have the power to make a difference”.
What happened to Stephen Lawrence?
Stephen was 18 years old, a sixth form student who wanted to become an architect. On the evening of the 22nd April 1993, Stephen was walking down a street in south London, with his friend, Duwayne. Racial abuse was shouted at Stephen and Duwayne and then Stephen was attacked by a gang of up to six white males. The attack lasted seconds but in that short time, Stephen sustained two fatal stab wounds. The gang ran off. Stephen managed to run a short distance before he collapsed and was pronounced dead later in hospital.
The murder of Stephen Lawrence and his family’s decades-long struggle for justice has had profound ramifications for Britain.
Nelson Mandela met Stephen’s family and helped to highlight that Stephen’s murder was racist. The Lawrence family challenged the police and uncovered institutional racism within the police itself. This led to an Inquiry into Stephen’s murder and a review of the investigation undertaken by the police. This was led by Sir William Macpherson, a retired High Court Judge. The Macpherson report uncovered racist behaviour by members the police force, during the murder investigation. Eventually, many years after Stephen’s death, two of the suspects were finally charged with his murder and given long sentences in 2012.
What can we do?
Stephen Lawrence Day is about the part we all play in creating a society in which everyone can flourish. It is an opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard, make the changes they’d like to see and create a society that treats everyone with fairness and respect.
In Learning for Life, sixth form students discussed the following:
You are on the cusp of adulthood, with your own life ahead of you. What sort of person do you want to be?
As young adults you will experience the pressure of “expected” ways to behave and “things” to have and own; things to experiment with. How will you make choices that keep you and others safe?
Ms Mannion, Careers Leader said “Schools around the United Kingdom can play a key role in championing a Legacy of Change in honour of Stephen Lawrence. Resources have been provided from the Stephen Lawrence Foundation and we are committed to giving our support.”
Last week Stephen’s mother, Baroness Lawrence appeared on TV on GMB. You can watch the feature HERE
Baroness Lawrence talks frequently about “the three Cs” – classrooms, community and careers – and Stephen Lawrence Day is focussed on giving young people a voice to help create a society which treats everyone with fairness and respect.
There is more information on the website: STEPHEN LAWRENCE