Stephen Lawrence was born and grew up in South East London where he lived with his parents Neville and Doreen, his brother Stuart and sister Georgina.
Like most young people he juggled an active social life, school work, family commitments and part-time employment, but he also had ambitions to use his talent for maths, art, and design to become an architect and wanted to have a positive impact on his community.
Tragically his dream of becoming an architect was never realised. On 22nd April 1993 at the age of just 18, Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. He didn’t know his killers and his killers didn’t know him.
After the initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the Macpherson Report, which has been called 'one of the most important moments in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain'. It led to profound cultural changes to attitudes on racism, to the law and to police practice. It also paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination of all forms and new equalities legislation.
Devastated by grief but determined to create hope, Stephen’s mother Doreen (now Baroness Lawrence) founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in 1998, with the aim of promoting a positive community legacy in their son’s name. She is Founder and Life President of the Trust.
Doreen Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2013, and since then she has been made Chancellor of De Montfort University and a life peer in the House of Lords. She has won praise for her tireless dedication to the community, anti-racism and other causes close to her heart.
Her spirit and resilience and demand for a better way have genuinely changed an institution at the core of British life.
On 22 April 2013, there was a memorial service for Stephen 20 years on to the day from when he was killed. Speaking at the service, Baroness Lawrence said:
‘Justice for Stephen is about all of us, every one of us, in society having justice. There are still too many young people who do not have a sense of hope, who just don't get the chance to live their dreams. I want all our children and young people to feel inspired, be confident and have hope in their own future. We are building hope but there is more to do.’