20 years after South East London schoolboy, Stephen Lawrence, 18, was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack in Eltham, and after an initially flawed inquiry by a police force criticised by public inquiry for being institutionally racist, the country’s political elite attended his memorial service. And the Metropolitan Police, after spending an estimated 50 million pounds re-investigating his killing, are still pledged to securing convictions for all those involved.
The private service was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square to commemorate his death. Family and friends of Stephen were joined by Prime Minister David Cameron, Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband, Home Secretary Theresa May and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence said during the service “My pain is raw, and that of my children.”
Also attending was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe who said “After taking too long, we did get convictions in two cases last year, and what we’re going to do is catch the other people involved.”
Singer-songwriter Beverly Knight also performed at the service.
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has released a “five-point call to action” to further promote awareness of youth potential throughout Britain, regardless of their background, encouraging the Government and educational bodies to lead the way to a more inclusive society.
Symon Sentain, Chair of Trustees at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said: “Britain cannot afford to waste talent. We need to have an inclusive and diverse workforce and encourage young people to transform their lives, overcome disadvantage and begin ambitious careers as professionals.”
The Trust is using the anniversary to launch a campaign for:
1. An awareness that greatness can come from anywhere;
2. A realisation that Britain can’t afford to waste talent;
3. Government and statutory bodies to lead the way;
4. Schools, further and higher education to embed race equality;
5. An authoritative pledge to recognise the businesses that set the standard.
The Stephen Lawrence Centre in Lewisham was built in 2005 as part of a developing legacy in memory of the aspiring architect student.