Page 3 Profile: Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence


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The Independent Online

A one-woman powerhouse?

Doreen Lawrence has made an indelible mark on British politics and society since her son Stephen was murdered in 1993. With remarkable tenacity, she refused to let up until an inquiry into the murder investigation was held, which concluded that the Metropolitan Police force was “institutionally racist”. She’s continued to campaign for justice for victims of racist crimes and set up the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to promote a positive community attitude.

What’s her background?

Born in Jamaica in 1952, she emigrated to England aged nine. Raised in south-east London, around the corner from where Stephen would later be murdered, she found work in a bank, married and had three children. She led a pretty ordinary life until her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death in what became this country’s most high-profile racist killing.

Her transformation into a social campaigner was breathtaking. She has pushed for public policy, advised Blair and Cameron, given talks and never wavered from her cause of eradicating racism.

And she’s still campaigning?

She certainly is, but the trust set up in her son’s name is facing an uncertain future after its funding was cut. This year is the 20th anniversary of Stephen’s murder, and will be marked by a concert at the O2 arena in September,  when Emeli Sandé, Plan B, Tinie Tempah and a host of British pop royalty will take to the stage to commemorate his life,  help with the funding shortfall and remind people of the work still to be done.

As she says: “There have been a further 106 racist murders since Stephen was killed 20 years ago and there are still too many young people who do not have a sense of hope.” This won’t be the last we hear from a mother who said that what happened two decades ago still affects her family “more than anyone would know”.