Today, Saturday 22nd April, is Stephen Lawrence Day.
And this year’s date marks 30 years since Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racially aggravated attack.
In the three decades since Stephen was taken, his mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence has devoted her life to sharing his story and fighting the system that led to those responsible for the crime to evade true justice. Just two of the five men linked to Stephen’s assault were convicted almost 20 years later, while the other three walked.
It’s a tragic story that dramatically impacted not only the black community, but modern British history itself in the pursuit of change and equality.
As told by the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation: “Stephen Lawrence Day is an opportunity for people, communities, and organisations to come together and honour Stephen’s life and legacy, stand up against discrimination in our daily lives, and work towards a more hopeful tomorrow. Through reflection, learning, and action, we can inspire change and create a better future for the next generation.”
Paying homage to Stephen’s memory, Plexal member My Life My Say, a youth-led, democracy movement, hosted a powerful special event at our Stratford workspace last weekend – Celebrating Stephen Lawrence: 30 Year Anniversary.
It was attended by Doreen and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer – his second visit to the Here East campus this year – who engaged in a conversation moderated by BBC Radio1Xtra host Swarzy Macaly.
During the discussion, Doreen called for “decolonisation of education”, as reported by The Voice in its post-event coverage. “I think if we learn our history, all the facts around racism and all the things that come [with that], that will just slowly, slowly, move away, [so that] people understand that the whole of their history, to open up the chest to see what was their part they played in history. It’s a start.”
Sir Keir’s presence at Plexal had support from other Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper and Diane Abbott, with tackling knife crime a central discussion point alongside young leaders.
Kate Pearman, COO at Plexal, says: “Plexal has always had community at the heart of its purpose. So, to say I’m incredibly proud we were able to support our longstanding member My Life My Say and CEO Mete Coban in hosting the Stephen Lawrence event at our Stratford workspace ahead of the anniversary of his passing is an understatement.
“The event was equal parts moving, illuminating and important. As a professional who believes in people, it was a privilege to hear Doreen and Keir speak with one another so openly. As a mother, I was inspired by Doreen’s unwavering ability to persevere through such adversity.
“As the 22nd April arrives, I hope people take the time to recognise Stephen Lawrence Day and reflect on what’s required to make a difference to society, so that other children aren’t taken from this world in acts of mindless hate.”
Kate isn’t the only one who was left in awe. Check out some of the feedback below from those in the room to get an idea of just how much this campaign from My Life My Say and the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation means.
❤️🙏🏾— Funk Butcher (@FunkButcher) April 16, 2023
Yesterday I witnessed strength that I’ve never seen before but I felt sorrow that anyone should even have to demonstrate that level of resilience. Thank you for all you do Doreen Lawrence for our society and the next generations. @sldayfdn pic.twitter.com/8X2GRaXu8q
Wonderful to be here to listen to this discussion between @Keir_Starmer & #DoreenLawrence— Adrian Lester (@AdrianLester) April 15, 2023
Hosted by @SwarzyMacaly pic.twitter.com/hcsZKhJ60t
It was a privilege to join Baroness Lawrence and @Keir_Starmer tonight to commemorate Stephen Lawrence’s legacy at the Black Excellence reception.— Anneliese Dodds (@AnnelieseDodds) April 15, 2023
There’s so much work to do for race equality in Britain.
Labour’s Race Equality Act will work to change our country for the better. pic.twitter.com/KoSHp6gbkZ
Doreen Lawrence and Keir Starmer spoke together at an event in Stratford last night ahead of the 30th anniversary (April 22nd, next weekend) of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Report from The Voice.https://t.co/68pTaY1lCM— Sunder Katwala (@sundersays) April 16, 2023
this year is thirty years on from the murder of stephen lawrence. i was really proud to be invited to reflect, commemorate and learn about that journey driven forward by @DLawrenceOBE.— shuranjeet (@shuranjeetsingh) April 16, 2023
thank you to the fabulous @harjxo, @jovan747 and meeting my brother Abdi @CoffeeAfrique ♥️ pic.twitter.com/odKH2P1AHB
30 years on since Stephen Lawrence Event – It was an honour to be invited to hear conversations from Keir Starmer MP [ @Keir_Starmer ] and Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE amongst influential figures doing brilliant work from across the Black British community. pic.twitter.com/SlgFJmiu6G— Sandra Igwe (@sandeeigwe) April 16, 2023
Plexal was built with people in mind, to create a vibrant, supportive community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about innovation, creativity and growth. Our mission is solving society’s challenges through collaboration with government, startups and industry, and events like this one from My Life, My Say demonstrate the value of coming together with a shared purpose. Long may moments like this continue, enabling us to listen, learn and move forward – united.