Liberal Democrat Vice President Isabelle Parasram writes to mark Stephen Lawrence Day…
Today is the day that we commemorate the life of Stephen Lawrence – a black British teenager who, in 1993, was killed in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white men.
Following an initial investigation, in which five suspects were charged, the public prosecution was dropped.
A private prosecution by the Lawrence family followed later, but this led to the acquittal of all three of those prosecuted.
At Stephen’s inquest, a verdict of unlawful killing “in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five youths” was delivered by Sir Montague Levine.
The next day, the Daily Mail published photographs of all five suspects on its front page with its never-to-be-forgotten headline:
The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.
Eventually, in 2012, two of the suspects were convicted and received life sentences. But no one else has been brought to justice.
The public inquiry into the handling of the police investigation accused the Metropolitan Police of institutional racism. The subsequent Macpherson Report has been described as a watershed in British race relations.
I’m sure that you remember Stephen’s shocking murder and the ripples that followed. As a barrister, I know that the way in which everyone involved in the handling of investigations and prosecutions changed from that point onward.
Stephen Lawrence Day is all about giving young people in particular the tools for change and to create the kind of world they want to live in.
If you want some ideas of how to support Stephen Lawrence Day, take a look at what you can do in this time of social distancing.
In the meantime, let’s continue to remember Stephen and his parents, Doreen and Neville by using our influence as Lib Dems to combat knife crime, invest in young people and campaign for race equality.
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