Doreen Lawrence calls for schools to tackle racism

Schools must teach pupils how to challenge racism from an early age, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence has said.

Marking the first Stephen Lawrence Day, Baroness Lawrence added children must learn to “embrace inclusion”.

Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death in a racially motivated attack in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993.

Prime Minister Theresa May described the murder as a “watershed moment for our country”.

Last year, on the 25th anniversary of his death, Mrs May announced the creation of an annual Stephen Lawrence Day, to begin in 2019.

The London Marathon, which is held on Sunday, has already announced that it will dedicate the 18-mile marker on the course in honour of Stephen.

Writing in the Guardian on Monday, Baroness Lawrence said:

“If we are to encourage future generations to build a better society, free from discrimination, I believe that we must teach tolerance and inclusion from an early age.

“Education is a powerful way of inspiring young people, and I would like to see British schools put the values of respect and fairness at the heart of the curriculum.”

Stephen was set upon by a gang, stabbed and left to die in Eltham 26 years ago.

Two of the group of up to six men who attacked the teenager and his friend Duwayne Brooks have been convicted of murder, but the rest have evaded justice.

The Macpherson Report into the investigation into Stephen’s death found that there had been “institutional racism” in the police.

Two decades after the publication of that report, the Metropolitan Police said the murder had been a “catalyst for significant, positive changes to the way we police”.

The force is marking Stephen Lawrence Day by sending cadets to work with the Lawrence family’s charitable trust, in a programme “aimed at helping young people live their best life”.

Baroness Lawrence
Stephen’s mother, Doreen, was made a peer by Labour in the House of Lords in 2013

Reflecting on the attack, Mr Brooks added: “None of us have had justice.

“All those involved in the murderous attack on Steve have not been convicted and everyone knows who they are, but the justice system has not worked.”

Dr Neville Lawrence – Stephen’s father – said he no longer thinks about his son’s killers facing justice.

“I don’t think about my son’s other killers being brought to justice any more. I am too busy trying to help the cause of reducing violence on our streets,”

he said.

“Instead of being angry I try to use my energy to motivate children and tell them that the can achieve whatever they want to achieve.”

Main image copyright: AFP

First published 22.04.19:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48011198

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