Today is Stephen Lawrence Day. It was in 2018 that the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced that April 22nd would be a national day of commemoration for Stephen Lawrence who was murdered on that same day in 1993 in what was a racially motivated stabbing.
Fight for Justice
For 20 plus years Stephen’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, fought for justice for her son and along with Stephen’s father, Neville, were instrumental in pushing their case through the courts and judicial system which ultimately led to the Macpherson report into Stephen’s death which concluded that at the heart of the case were elements of institutional racism which were at play during and after his death.
At just age 18, Stephen, a promising architect, was cruelly denied the opportunity to fulfill his life calling. Yet, through the foundation set up in his name, countless young people have gone on to achieve greatness in their chosen professions having been positively influenced by his story.
I was only 11 years old at the time of Stephen’s death and was haunted by his story and his mother’s fight for justice for so long that years later I would write a poem about it in the form of a letter to Stephen. Kept hidden away in a collected book of poems I wrote, encouragement came from friends, family and members of a creative writing group I attended to send the poem to Baroness Lawrence, which I did during the 25th anniversary of Stephen’s death on 22nd April 2018.
Not expecting to get a reply to my letter and poem in Stephen’s memory, to my surprise, in a letter dated 11th May 2018, Baroness Lawrence did write back to me saying that the poem was beautiful and touching and that she hoped I would use my talent to support and educate others. It is hoped that during my 12 years as a primary school teaching assistant alongside my role as a freelance journalist, covering stories of human interest and social justice, that I am doing just that.
His Legacy Lives On
Stephen may not be physically present with us today. But through those who have benefited from the foundation in his name as well as what I hope I am achieving within the continued education of young people alongside my passion for writing, that with the use of these gifts we will do everything in our power to ensure that the legacy of Stephen Lawrence will never die.
(C) Copyright 2020, Darell J Philip