Search icon


22nd Apr 2021

Stephen Lawrence Day: everything you need to know

Danny Jones

Stephen Lawrence was just 18 when he was killed in an unprovoked racist attack. Today we remember his story and how his memory paved the way for a greater understanding of discrimination, equality and cultural change

The story of Stephen Lawrence is a deeply tragic one and, sadly, one of far too many. On the 22nd of April, 1993, the teenager from Plumstead in South East London was waiting for a bus with a friend when he was attacked by a gang of young white males.

The attack – which took place in Eltham, South London – was entirely unprovoked and racially motivated. It took almost 20 years for his killers to be found guilty and two of the original suspects avoided prosecution over insufficient evidence.

Stephen Lawrence died in 1993

The story is a reminder of how modern Britain has evolved but also how much work still needs to be done, as racism is still an ever-present problem throughout society.

Tragedies such as the death of George Floyd shine a light on the deep-rooted prejudices that still remain in this world. Therefore, the work that organisations like the Black Lives Matter movement and the Stephen Lawrence Foundation do is invaluable.

Today, Lawrence’s name is one that springs up ideas of charity, community and carries a “legacy of change”. The Stephen Lawrence Foundation was set up in 2019 and aims to help educate, motivate and raise awareness surrounding the challenges young people face.

This is the third year in which Stephen Lawrence Day has been celebrated – you can watch this powerful video below:

Stephen was just like most young people: he enjoyed spending time with his friends and family, he worked hard in school and at his part-time job. With a passion for maths, art and design, he had dreams of becoming an architect, hoping to one day make a positive impact in his local area and the wider community.

Whilst Stephen never got to live out his dream, his Foundation strives to help ensure other young people do. Stephen Lawrence Day is about nurturing the youth of today, helping them achieve their goals and show them they have a voice, as well as improving society for everyone.

The direct impact that the Foundation has had in classrooms around the UK over the past couple of years is vital. From Early Years, Foundation Stage and KS1, all the way up to Post 16 and College/Sixth Form, educational resources have been available to kids throughout Britain, helping them learn about concepts such as racism, unconscious bias and cultural history.

Whilst COVID-19 may have altered the plans for events and activities that would usually take place in local communities across Britain, there are still plenty of ways you can do your bit to do your bit and honour Stephen’s memory. Check out their Get Involved page for more ideas.

Whether it’s creating your own spoken word poem, entering a poster design competition, or simply signing up to volunteer or help fundraise for the Stephen Lawrence Foundation, it doesn’t matter: the way you contribute is up to you – just make sure you do.

Join JOE and the rest of the UK in celebrating Stephen Lawrence Day this April 22nd.