Stephen Lawrence Day 2021
Today is Stephen Lawrence Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the life of Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in an unprovoked, racist attack 28 years ago.
Please take some time today to pause and reflect.
Stephen was a young man who dreamed of being an architect before having his life snatched away from him. His senseless murder was eventually followed years later by the Macpherson Inquiry into the institutionally racist police investigation, which set out 70 recommendations for society to show “zero tolerance” for racism.
In the report that followed the inquiry, the definition of racist incidents was clarified in recommendation number 12 as:
"A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person."
If UK workplaces also adopted this definition, then we’d see real progress towards that anti-racist commitment that so many organisations have publicised as their stance over the past year. This would alleviate the burden on those victims of racism to continuously provide concrete evidence of their very real lived experiences.
Let us not forget that in the UK we’re living in a time when we’re still challenging a narrative that denies the existence and the impact of institutional racism. The recent Sewell Report is evidence of that. It’s a fact that Black people still endure violence and suffer the effects of inequality, and whilst we’ve observed the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer in the USA this week, we should be mindful that only 2 of the men accused of killing Stephen Lawrence were convicted. There remains a long way to go on the journey towards true inclusion and equality.
Today we would urge you to recognise the importance of standing strong against the systemic bias and racism that deeply affects people from the Black and ethnically diverse communities.
Today we would urge you to publicly acknowledge that it’s our collective responsibility to create a society free from oppression and inequality.
Today we would urge you to begin to take action to further educate ourselves and each other on how we can make positive steps towards change.
To find out more about Stephen Lawrence, and the work of the foundation set up in his name, visit www.stephenlawrenceday.org